Cissy Houston, mother of late pop singer Whitney Houston, is pleading with television network Lifetime to cancel their upcoming biopic focusing on her daughter’s tumultuous relationship with former husband Bobby Brown. “No one connected with this movie knew Whitney or anything about her relationship with Bobby,” Houston says in a statement issued to Entertainment Tonight, begging the filmmakers to “please, please let her rest.”
“Lifetime has chosen to go ahead with the movie about Whitney in spite of my family’s objections,” Houston says. “In the two years since Whitney’s death, many people have stepped forward to speak about their close relationship with her. I find it difficult to believe people who knew and supposedly loved her would participate in a movie about her done by folks who didn’t know her. We are exhausted by the continuing misinformation and comments offered by people who did not know her.”
But, as The Guardian notes, Houston’s claims aren’t entirely accurate: Her daughter co-starred with the biopic’s director, Angela Bassett, in the 1995 romantic comedy Waiting to Exhale; and singer Deborah Cox, who is recording vocals for the biopic, previously recorded a duet with Houston on the 2000 R&B single “Same Script, Different Cast.”
Despite the controversy, Lifetime is reportedly moving forward with the project. Bassett defended the film – her debut as a director – in a previous statement, saying, “I have such regard for both Whitney’s and Bobby’s amazing talents and accomplishments; and I feel a responsibility in the telling of their story. Their humanity and bond fascinates us all. I’m beyond excited to have this opportunity to go behind the camera and into their world.”
Meanwhile, the network is also facing major issues with a biopic on late R&B singer Aaliyah. The film, Aaliyah: Princess of R&B, will reportedly trace the singer’s life from age 10 until her death (and include details on her alleged illegal marriage to R. Kelly). Teen Disney Channel star Zendaya Coleman was set to star in the title role and record four Aaliyah songs for the movie, but Lifetime announced last month on Twitter that Coleman “will no longer play Aaliyah” and that “production is on hold.”
Though Coleman didn’t directly address the decision on Twitter, she did retweet an E! News story attributing her departure to production issues and difficulty obtaining the rights to Aaliyah’s music.