It has been more than six years since the untimely passing of Whitney Houston, the transcendent singer whose career included numerous industry milestones and cinematic triumphs. With a voice as powerful as her personality was magnetic, Houston was one of the defining pop stars of her generation, and she’ll receive a fitting big-screen tribute when Whitney — boasting never-before-seen footage, rare performances, and archival music from her family vaults — arrives in theaters this summer. And now, that eagerly anticipated documentary has debuted its first trailer, replete with the star badmouthing the vocal capabilities of fellow 1980s chart-topper Paula Abdul.
“Paula Abdul ain’t s***,” Houston says at the 1:24 mark. “That girl is singing off-key on the record.”
As evidenced by the above promo, director Kevin McDonald’s (The Last King of Scotland, Marley) film will offer a candid view of Houston’s rise from humble origins to stratospheric superstardom courtesy of her unparalleled voice, which, as Babyface says in one snippet, was so great, her rendition of the national anthem at the 1991 Super Bowl made people “proud to be Americans.” Of course, though she found fame and fortune through music and movies (most notably, 1992’s The Bodyguard with Kevin Costner), Houston’s life was not without its immense complications, many of which emerged after her marriage to Bobby Brown. Her drug addiction led to her tragic demise — a topic that McDonald’s film addresses frankly, including via new interviews with Brown himself, whose role in her fall from grace, the trailer suggests, was considerable.