Once upon a time, I was a music publicist and had the distinction of meeting Whitney Houston. The Whitney Houston I met , was a fun-loving kind generous home-girl from New Jersey , who loved her friends and family hard. She was a loyal as they come. This particular day, Whitney came out to surprise our clients BeBe and CeCe Winans (which she did quite often, much to the chagrin of her father and her label) by singing background with their sisters Debbie and Angie. She only stepped forward to perform her hit single with Bebe and CeCe “Hold Up The Light”.
You see, Whitney knew that her presence would boost record and tour sales for her friends, in addition to, assisting them to cross over from the Christian Gospel charts to R&B. It worked!!! Now, with the life of BeBe and CeCe, as well as the 25th Anniversary of The Bodyguard being commemorated through a Broadway musicals starring Deborah Cox…Whitney: Can I Be Me couldn’t be more timely.
My heart breaks and I get a lump in my throat every time I see footage of this beautiful angel singing her heart out and then watching footage of her vocal demise.
Directed by Nick Broomfield, Whitney: Can I Be sheds a light on “The Voice” that few have seen unless in her inner circle. Thanks to massive hours of footage shot by co-director Rudi Dolezal, the audience is privy to live concert, backstage, hotel room and private moments never before seen.
There is a better understanding of the tension and complicated relationship between Whitney, Bobby Brown and her lifelong friend Robyn Crawford. Many of her inner circle believe that Whitney would still be alive today if Robyn had still be in her life. The ideology that when someone is that famous and that rich, that people are afraid to speak up when they see something out of sheer fear of being cut off personally and financially. It’s a vicious cycle that we have seen happen with many superstars like Michael Jackson, Prince, Elvis and the list goes on.
However, in each instance all any of them want was to “just be normal”. Unfortunately for us and their loved ones left behind, the desire for normalcy and the prison of loneliness ultimately took them away.
If you are hoping this another documentary filled with dirt and unsavory comments about the deceased…you will be gravely disappointed. If you are a fan, who wants to see what the “real” Whitney Houston was like away from the spotlight, you will be pleasantly surprised.
Whitney: Can I Be Me can be seen on Showtime beginning August 26th