Feedback
News

Beyond ‘Whitney:’$2 5 TV Music-Themed Movies We Loved

The biopic "Whitney" premieres Saturday (8 p.m. ET on Lifetime) under the watchful eye of music critics and die-hard Whitney Houston fans. The TV movie, directed by Oscar nominee Angela Basset, stars model-turned-actress Yaya DaCosta, who does the heavy lifting as the late pop star. "Whitney" attempts to portray the life one of America's greatest vocalists, a singular talent whose final years were scarred by drug abuse and personal troubles. No small feat, right?

Could "Whitney" become a movie we love — or love to hate?

Saturday's premiere got us thinking: What other biopics about black musicians moved us, entertained us, or just made us downright angry?

Here's our list:

1. The Jacksons: An American Dream

Image: 1992's Jacksons: An American Dream
1992's Jacksons: An American Dream Courtesy Everett Collection

With Angela Bassett as Catherine Jackson, Jason Weaver as a young Michael Jackson, Vanessa Williams, and future "Empire" star Terrance Howard, what is there not to love?

2. The Temptations

Image: 1998's The Temptations
1998's The Temptations Hallmark Entertainment / Courtesy Everett Collection

We'll sum up the movie for you in one sentence and a few hastags: “Ain’t nobody coming to see you Otis! #DavidRuffin. #Leon.

In.That.Order.

3.The Five Heartbeats

Image:  The Five Heartbeats
The Five Heartbeats: Michael Wright, Leon, Robert Townsend, Harry J. Lennix, Tico Wells 20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

Is there a heart in the house tonight? Stand up! Yes, we know it’s not a biopic, but it's the general story line of black singing groups from the Motown area. And then there’s Leon (did we say that already?).

4. CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story

Image: TLC performing at the 1995 MTV Music Video Awards
TLC performing at the 1995 MTV Music Video Awards, held at the Radio City Music Hall, New York City, NY on September 7, 1995.Photo by Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect Frank Micelotta / Getty Images

TLC fans were upset initially with the casting decisions and took to twitter to air out their grievances. Most of the controversy came after the film aired, when the group’s former manager, Peri "Pebbles" Reid, disputed her depiction in the movie.

5. Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B

Aaliyah in the all-new Lifetime Original Movie
Alexandra Shipp stars as Aaliyah in the all-new Lifetime Original Movie, Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B. Christos Kalohoridis / Lifetime

This film seemed doomed from the start. Aaliyah’s family didn’t allow any of the singer’s music to be used, and her fiercely loyal fans panned the movie. But through all of the challenges, it was Lifetime’s second highest-rated movie in 2014 with 3.2 million viewers.