He also takes a very heavy hand to her struggles, especially in the doc’s grim last half hour, without reconciling some of the overtures she made to the Black community. Her starring roles in Waiting To Exhale and The Preachers Wife are omitted, as is her “I’m Every Woman” video with TLC, her 1998 My Love is Your Love album with production by Wyclef and Rodney Jerkins and her R&B hit “Heartbreak Hotel” with Faith Evans and Kelly Price.
Her comeback performance of Diane Warren’s “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” at the American Music Awards, a moment people cheered is also not included. What that does is limit both Whitney’s voice in her story and reduces her career and life to the tragic moments and not the triumphant ones.
Clearly, Whitney was a woman too complex for just one or two docs. These docs provide some measure of closure in terms of what led to some of her problems and the end of her life, as well as the end of her daughter’s life, the seeds of which are laid out in the doc.
But Whitney’s gift, her music and her life deserve a far more intimate treatment that gives her more of a central position in her own story and establishes her as the Black woman she always felt she was, although she was marketed – and accepted the marketing – as race neutral.
While Whitney is a devastating look at the ultimate price of fame, perhaps there is a third doc yet to be done that will allow for a truly complete picture of a woman accepted and honed her God-given talents but whose life was inexorably altered and perhaps shortened by them as well.
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