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Commentary: Rihanna not ‘da one’ for film about Whitney Houston

Photos courtesy of MCT

Barbadian singer Rihanna has been singled out by the media as the possible frontrunner to play the late Whitney Houston in the biopic of the legend’s life. This should not happen.

No big names allowed

I don’t think a well known actress or singer should be given the honor of playing Houston because the celebrity would distract from the overall story that should belong to Houston alone. Also, audiences will have preconceived notions or prejudices of the actress or singer (in this case, Rihanna) and probably let it deter them from keeping an open mind. An unknown actress who can sing well, or at least fake it, is much better suited for this task. Jennifer Lawrence, who played Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games,” is an example of a lesser-known actor succeeding in a major role.

Black singers aren’t similar

“Oh hey, Whitney’s a dead black singer, let’s get another black singer who looks nothing like her to play her,” said the imaginary film producer in my head. Having the same skin color does not mean one person can easily portray another. We wouldn’t have Ricky Gervais portraying Steve Jobs, just because they’re both white men, now would we? I think it’s incredibly insulting to Houston’s legacy to have a weak singer such as Rihanna portray her just because they share the same skin color.

It’s still too soon

Before Houston’s body was buried, people were already scrambling to get a script for a movie on her life. She just died. People need a mourning period. If it was up to Hollywood, and if it was possible, a movie would’ve been released the following weekend, chronicling her career and downfall. It’s incredibly classless and tacky to even discuss that so soon after her death, especially with MTV discussing it with Rihanna as though it was already in the making.


Besides being an insipid singer and an even weaker dancer, Rihanna has nothing real under her belt. One little role in the idiotic “Battleship,” does not give her the qualification to play such an iconic figure. As I said before, an unknown actress is much more realistic than a megastar with no discernible acting ability. To toss Rihanna in this upcoming biopic is cheap and it doesn’t give Houston the respect she deserves.

What a role model

Rihanna has made her career off of sex and vulgar antics and frankly, isn’t deserving of portraying a legend that has touched the hearts of millions. Rihanna used her domestic abuse story to sell records because she has nothing else to back her up. Houston never needed to do that. In fact, she shied away from it until the media forced the truth out.

This might seem petty and juvenile, but I have a lot of respect for Houston and it’s about time Hollywood and the media started to as well. If she couldn’t be honored while alive, at least honor her in death.

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