The documentary “Whitney” tells the story of one of the greatest vocal talents of the 20th century, and it’s set to release on July 6.
Whitney Houston is well-known for her pure, powerful, and beautiful voice, as well as her tragic story ending. This documentary focuses on restoring the singer’s reputation and reminding the world of her incredible gift, while unveiling her painful public deterioration by demonstrating that she was simply a human being with weaknesses and struggles.
Many questions have also been raised after Houston’s death, and viewers might find some answers in the film.
Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin Macdonald used never-before-seen archival footage, exclusive demo recordings, rare performances, audio archives, and original one-on-one interviews with the people who knew her best to illustrate Whitney Houston’s struggles to find peace in her life.
She started performing at the age of 11 and became a backup singer at 14 for Michael Zager Band, then Chaka Khan and Lou Rawls when she was 15.
Houston recorded a duet with Teddy Pendergrass “Hold Me” that was released in 1984 and it became a Top 5 R&B hit. This song was also included on her debut album in February 1985, which The New York Times called “an impressive, musically conservative showcase for an exceptional vocal talent.”
Houston went on to break more music industry records than any other female singer in history. With over 200 million album sales worldwide, she was the only artist to chart seven consecutive U.S. No. 1 singles. She also inspired many young female artists to pursue their dreams, such as Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, LeAnn Rimes and more.
Other than being a singer, she also worked as fashion and commercial model, actress, and both film and record producer. She starred in several blockbuster movies before her brilliant career gave way to erratic behavior and scandals.
The new documentary offers an intimate, unflinching portrait of Houston and her family that probes beyond familiar tabloid headlines and sheds new light on the spellbinding trajectory of Houston’s life.
“This family is full of secrets,” one of Houston’s brothers said during the interview in the film. While their mother, Cissy Houston, a gospel singer, was often on tour, the three Houston kids lived with different relatives, and some troubles began to emerge.
The film revealed that Houston started to use drugs when she was a teenager, and she died of a drug overdose in 2012 at the age of 48 in her guest room at the Beverly Hilton.
She married rapper Bobby Brown in 1992 when she was 29 and he was 23. They kept their marriage alive for 15 years and had a daughter Bobbi Kristina who died on 2015, also because of drug intoxication.
While working on the film, director Macdonald started to wonder if there was more to Houston’s story.
“There was something very disturbed about her (Houston), because she was never comfortable in her own skin,” he said during an interview with Vanity Fair.
The resulting documentary reveals what kind of abuse Houston went through when she was young, and it resulted in her self-torture.
Macdonald actually decided to re-edited the film after obtaining that piece of information, which changed his entire perception about Houston. It’s the first time the family secret has been released to the public.
After Houston passed away, the people around her began to question themselves that maybe they didn’t do enough to stop her from destroying herself through drug abuse.
This question became a taboo subject that her family avoided talking about. In fact, Houston’s two brothers said they felt like the interviews conducted for the film functioned like therapy sessions. They were grateful for the opportunity to lift the burden off of their shoulders.