A Whitney Houston biopic was an inevitability since The Bodyguard and probably even before. (NPR’s Ann Powers suggests it might’ve played out as an opera instead, but that’d be cranking up more inspiration than the insta-biopic machine can handle.) Those mentioned as potential Whitneys include Jennifer Hudson, who delivered her Grammy tribute; Jordin Sparks, her Sparkle costar; Vivica A. Fox and Meagan Good. None of these people are quite Whitney Houston’s counterpart, though, at least not in being the biggest artist in urban pop. That person is Rihanna. But is Rihanna interested? Is she ever:
My first song that I remember falling in love with was a Whitney Houston song: ‘I Will Always Love You.’ It was really inspiring, and it made me develop a passion for music, so really, she’s partly responsible for me being here in this industry. That would be something that I would have to give my entire life to do, because I would really want to pull it off.
The first part of this is entirely fair and something that’s not said enough: Whitney Houston, during and after her peak, was an icon to millions of girls who had almost no icons like her. (She was one of the first black women to appear on the cover of Seventeen, for one.) Whitney’s partly responsible for lots of people being in the music industry, and that’s a part of her legacy you really can’t understate.
But your “entire life,” Rihanna? Those are strong words. Particularly in the context of “I would have to… I really want to pull it off.” Sure, we’re rampantly misquoting and decontextualizing and sniping and snarking and such. This is the Internet. That’s what happens here. Actors suffer for their art; quotes suffer for the joke.