One of my greatest regrets in life, is never seeing Whitney Houston live in concert. I’ve been reduced to watching live performances on YouTube and as soul-riveting as they are, I can only imagine what it would have been like to hear “the voice” in-person. Like many others, I couldn’t comprehend the brilliance of Whitney’s immense talent until after her untimely death on February 11.
Earlier this year, the documentary Whitney premiered at the Cannes Film Festival leaving fans and critics stunned at a bombshell revelation. Whitney was allegedly molested by her aunt Dionne Warwick’s sister Dee Warwick.
After several failed attempts to tell Whitney’s story accurately and sensitivity, the Houston family teamed up with Kevin Macdonald to put forth a film they believe portrayed Whitney in her true essence.
“I think it will impact her legacy in a positive way because I hope that it will make people feel like I’m not going to dismiss her as this drug-addicted, tabloid, ne’er do well, low-class person,” Macdonald, told IndieWire. “By understanding, you humanize. I didn’t start this as a great Whitney Houston fan, but I ended up with a credible sense of empathy for her, and a love of the music born out of that empathy.”
Macdonald attempts to get to the root of Whitney’s drug use and uncovers some ugly truths that have been buried deeper than family photo albums in the attic.
Whitney’s struggle with substance abuse captivated audiences. How could someone with vocal cords touched by God himself fall into the devil’s hands? During her famous Diane Sawyer interview, Sawyer asked Whitney ‘Who the biggest devil in her situation is?’ Whitney eerily responded, “me.” But we didn’t seem to focus on that part, we ran with the sound bite “crack is wack” and “show me the receipts.” We went for the bait and overlooked the “why.” Why does Whitney have a drug addiction?
“She has a human story just like we do and her life mirrors all of ours,” Pat Houston told Bustle. “She just had to play hers out in public, and we live our darkness in the shadow… she’s narrating and telling you the things that bothered her in life, which I’m pretty sure was a lot of silent suffering. People who go through silent suffering all the time, that’s why there are suicides. That’s why there are certain things that happen.”
Whitney debuts in theaters July 6 promising fans a never-before-seen glance into Nippy’s life. With the family’s permission, Whitney will feature raw footage from performance tapes and home video, acapella vocals at their strong point, but more impressively Whitney captures the ascension of young woman dubbed “The Voice” and her tragic fall.