Naomi Ackie, Star Of Whitney Houston’s New Biopic, & Director Kasi Lemmons Believe Singer Would Be Happy w/ The Film, But Would Likely Have Notes

Naomi Ackie, Whitney Houston, Kasi Lemmons

Naomi Ackie, Star Of Whitney Houston’s New Biopic, & Director Kasi Lemmons Believe Singer Would Be Happy w/ The Film, But Would Likely Have Notes

The new Whitney Houston biopic releases nationwide tomorrow (Dec. 23), and the artists responsible for bringing it together are sharing their thoughts on the film.

During a recent interview, 31-year-old Naomi Ackie, who portrays the late singer in the movie, says she’s hopeful the icon would approve of her performance. Vehemently studying Houston, however, the British actress says she’d also be open to constructive advice and direction.

Speaking on the starring role, Ackie stated:

“I would hope [Whitney Houston] would be like, ‘OK, Nai, you did a thing!’ “

Laughing, she continued:

“Also, she might have loads of notes and I’d just be like, ‘Great — let’s do another one. Direct me and we can do it again.’ “

The film’s director Kasi Lemmons, who also directed the 2019 biopic “Harriet,” additionally believes Houston would approve of the movie. Agreeing with Ackie’s statements, Lemmons added:

“I think she’d be happy with it. I’ve thought about this a lot, of course…I felt like we were having a conversation with Whitney. I asked her a lot, ‘What would you think?’ or ‘Is this OK?’ When we came to a crossroads or a sticking place, it was kind of like, ‘Let’s talk to Whitney about it.’ “

Naomi Ackie, Kasi Lemmons On “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” Set

The biopic, titled “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” – named after one of Houston’s biggest singles – covers the singer’s life from beginning to end. The Grammy Award-winning artist passed away back in 2012 due to accidental drowning, brought on by heart complications and drug use. Ackie also addressed portraying Houston’s struggle with addiction in the film. The actress said she hopes her performance encourages viewers to have more grace towards the singer’s life, explaining:

“The thing about Whitney and people who are suffering from addiction is it’s a reminder that it’s an illness, that the person who is going through this is the victim of it…Her life was extraordinary, but the things she was going through were things we all go through.”

She continued:

“Bringing her into a very human space and treating Whitney with the same compassion we would treat anyone else is really important…because I think when it comes to the idea of celebrities and icons, sometimes we can be more unkind because our expectations of them are so high.”

Both Ackie and Lemmons also declared their intentions not to look at reviewers online. Lemmons said she knows Houston would want the story told, and believes the film they’ve created has done its job in the best way possible. She stated:

“I think she would be cool with it, and I think she would want the story told. She would want her humanness told, that she was not just a performer, but she was a mother and she was a daughter and she was a sister and she was a friend and she was a lover and a wife…I feel very comfortable with the movie…I really love it. I love the performance. I know why I did it and I know what I did, and I don’t really need to read the comments.”   

Ackie doubled down on forgoing reading online thoughts, stating:

“It’s not my business what people think of me. I hope there’s something everyone can take away [from the movie], but at the same time, I’m only human. I am not Whitney Houston. I am an actor and I tried to do something, so I’m choosing not to be hard on myself either, but also not trying to control whether people like it or not,”

she added:

“That’s the point of sharing a piece; people can have whatever opinion they want to have…I’m trying to be reasonable and put myself in a reasonable space because I think — especially now — you can really find out what everyone wants to say about you. And that’s just not healthy.”

“I Wanna Dance With Somebody” is now playing in select theaters and premieres nationwide on Dec. 23.


Will you be catching Whitney Houston’s biopic? Let us know in the comments!

Authored by: Kay Johnson