Whitney’s World

Naomi Ackie Transforms Into Whitney Houston in First Trailer for I Wanna Dance With Somebody

Numerous singers who have been dubbed a voice of a generation. But not many have their voices remembered several decades later. Whitney Houston, however, has a voice and discography that continues to stand the test of time. She wasn’t nicknamed “The Voice” for nothing. Now, the film I Wanna Dance With Somebody is ready to highlight that.

Written by Anthony McCarten (Bohemian Rhapsody), produced by music industry legend Clive Davis and Houston’s aunt Pat Houston, and directed by Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou, Harriet), the musical biopic is set to cover the career of the music icon and the life of the star affectionately known as “Nippy”. While the New Jersey native was a superstar, her road to superstardom was no crystal stair. 

As the trailer alludes, Houston’s music was pegged as pop and not seen as for a Black market, something that is completely untrue today. Her star shined bright within the R&B pop world. Multiple number one hits like “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”, “Saving All My Love”, “How Will I Know”, and “So Emotional” highlighted her outstanding vocal prowess in the 80s.

That success carried into the 90s with hits like “Heartbreak Hotel”, “I Have Nothing”, and “I’m Your Baby Tonight”. She also made her acting debut in The Bodyguard during this time, which also produced one of her greatest hits, “I Will Always Love You”. Originally penned and recorded by country star Dolly Parton in the 70s, the song was one of several standouts from the movie’s soundtrack and topped the Billboard Hot 100 for 14 weeks. 

And while Houston found moderate success in the new millennium, a tumultuous relationship with her former husband Bobby Brown and challenges with drug use in the tabloids seemingly overshadowed her music. Additionally, a rumored relationship with her best friend and assistant Robyn Crawford, which was later confirmed by Crawford, kept people talking about her personal life more than her music. 

Whitney Houston continued to perform until her death in February 2012. 

Now, this story is going to keep people talking when it’s brought back to life, with Naomi Ackie portraying Houston. Ackie was selected to play the award-winning superstar in 2020. She is most known for her roles in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and the third season of Master of None, opposite queer filmmaker Lena Waithe. 

In addition to Ackie, Ashton Sanders (Moonlight, Wu-Tang: An American Saga) will play Bobby Brown, Nafessa Williams (Black Lightning) will play Robyn Crawford, Tamara Tunie (Cowboy Bebop), and Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games, Burlesque) as Clive Davis. 

I Wanna Dance With Somebody premieres in theaters on December 21, 2022.

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