The face, the smile, the voice: Whitney Houston was an American treasure who ended in American tragedy. A new documentary by Kevin Macdonald promises to ask hard questions of those who knew her best, but we will have to wait and see how balanced “Whitney” will be. Access has its advantages, however, and the film description teases never-before-seen archival footage, exclusive demo recordings, and rare performances from the iconic diva.
A new trailer includes sit-down interviews with Houston’s controversial ex-husband Bobby Brown, soul singer mother Cissy Houston, as well as many other friends and family. The subject of Houston’s former best friend and rumored lover Robyn Crawford does come up, although Crawford does not appear to be involved in the film. An earlier film, “Whitney. Can I Be Me,” released in 2017, strongly suggested Crawford and Houston were in love.
With the family’s blessing, “Whitney” may not delve too deeply into Houston’s sexuality, but that doesn’t mean it’s playing it safe. One choice clip shows Houston throwing shade at another pop star of her time. “Paula Abdul ain’t shit. That girl is singing off key on the record,” she says, reclining in a white bath robe.
Roadside Attractions will release “Whitney” in theaters on July 6. Check out the trailer below.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article stated that Whitney Houston’s parents were executive producers on this film, which they are not.