Naomi Ackie, the star of Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody, says she wouldn't have done the project if Houston's queer relationship wasn't included.
In an interview with Attitude, Ackie said that it was "so important" that Houston's relationship with her former assistant Robyn Crawford be made explicit in the biopic. Crawford had previously opened up about that relationship in her 2019 book A Song for You: My Life With Whitney Houston.
"It feels like liberation to me," said Ackie. "It's a part of her story. The love between Robyn and Whitney was so pure and real and dynamic. It moved, it shifted, they never put a name on it. And I just love that. It's a part of Whitney's story."
"It deserves to be told," she continued. "So, to be honest with you, if that wasn't in the script, I don't think I would have done the project because it feels like continuing a false narrative that doesn't feel truthful."
Since Whitney Houston passed in 2012, there have been several films made about her life. There was Lifetime's Whitney in 2015, Nick Broomfield and Rudi Dolezal's controversial Whitney: Can I Be Me in 2017, and most recently, Kevin McDonald's Whitney in 2018.
However, Kasi Lemmons' I Wanna Dance With Somebody is the first big-budget Hollywood biopic. It also has the blessing of the Houston estate.
In her interview, Ackie bemoaned the ways the media "did [Houston] dirty," including "that documentary that we'll not mention right now."
I Wanna Dance With Somebody opens December 23 in theaters.