While friends and colleagues of the late-Whitney Houston gathered Tuesday night in Los Angeles, Calif., to a screening of the new telefilm, “Whitney,” the star’s family was conspicuously absent, according to the New York Post, citing a report from the Associated Press.
The screening took place at the Paley Center for Media, located just blocks away from The Beverly Hilton hotel, where the 48-year-old Houston drowned in her guest room in February 2012, according to The Post. The official coroner’s report listed heart disease and cocaine as contributing factors in her death, the Post notes.
Actress Angela Bassett, who made her feature-directing debut with the biopic, which premieres Jan. 17 on the Lifetime cable network, said not only was the family invited to the event, but also to participate in the project. Yaya DaCosta, who played in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” stars as Houston, while soul singer Deborah Cox sings Houston’s iconic songs.
Houston’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown (pictured below), went on an expletive-filled social media rant this summer because she wasn’t chosen to play her mother in the biopic, the Post writes.
“And it was the family’s choice and decision, because of what they want to do and whatever their desires or their plans are, not to be involved in this one,” Bassett said. “But they didn’t have anything negative to say about it. You know, sometimes to be silent is the greatest gift.”
Bassett and Houston worked closely during production and promotion of the 1994 drama, “Waiting to Exhale,” and Bassett expressed fond memories of her the beleaguered star.
“To have had that experience of being around her,” noted Bassett, “all that came back to serve me in the making of this.”
Without the family’s stamp of approval, the production was not allowed to use Houston’s original recordings, the report says. Instead, Bassett hired singer Cox, Houston’s one-time label mate, recording partner and long-time friend.