Angela Bassett Speaks on Whitney Houston’s Death 10 Years Later

Whitney Houston touched the lives of many in her 30+ year career, including those she worked with. Outside of music, Houston made quite the mark as an actress, having starred in several hit movies. She worked with Angela Bassett on a drama in the mid-’90s, which Houston later said was her favorite film role. Bassett admits losing Houston was difficult. 

Angela Bassett and Angela Bassett filming 'Waiting to Exhale'
Angela Bassett and Whitney Houston in a shot from ‘Waiting to Exhale’ 1995 | Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images

Angela Bassett talks about Whitney Houston’s death near Houston’s 10-year anniversary

Bassett recently spoke with InStyle and was asked about Houston’s death. She was also questioned about the unexpected loss of her Black Panther co-star, Chadwick Boseman.

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“The loss can be overwhelming, but I try to remain grateful for the moments I’ve had with them and for the contribution that they’ve made to my life and to culture,” she said. “Instead of leaning into the loss, I lean into the blessing that their life was and will appear to be in spirit. When you’re a person of faith, you know that we are much more than just flesh and blood. We’re spirit, heart, and soul as well. And we trust that those things remain with us.”

Bassett remained in contact with both stars until their deaths. She was set to share the screen again with both in two sequels: Black Panther 2 and Waiting to Exhale’s sequel, Getting to Happy.

The two worked together on ‘Waiting to Exhale’

Houston and Bassett co-starred in the 1995 film Waiting to Exhale. The film chronicled four friends in their 30s at different stages of their personal lives, love lives, and careers. Working with Houston turned out to be a dream for Houston. They formed a close friendship outside of filming.

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“You know, working with Whitney…we were all such a fan,” she told Entertainment Tonight’s Kevin Frazier in 2020. “So to come to know each other, to play cards, to go bowling, to that regular simple joys of life stuff? It was great. It was an awesome opportunity.”

More than anything, Bassett is happy about the cultural impact the film made. “I say it still holds up,” she said of the film. “To that point we hadn’t seen films that told the lives of older Black women. [And] it was the first of a film that featured women for women, so it was really you know a trailblazer.”   

Angela Bassett directed a movie on Whitney Houston’s life

Bassett paid tribute to Houston in her own way by directing a Lifetime film based on Houston’s life and marriage to Bobby Brown titled Whitney. The film starred Yaya Decosta and was released in 2015. 

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“I pondered the regret I’d feel if I didn’t do it,” Bassett told USA Today in 2015, adding that the news of her death was hard to process. “It was something very personal,” she said. It was almost impossible to articulate her death in the African-American community and the community at large — her beauty, her talent, her spirit. We were in love with her. Different media outlets reached out to me then, and I couldn’t say anything. It was too soon, too raw. When this (TV movie) opportunity came, it was a gift, a way I could say what I felt about her.”

Houston’s family, including her mother and daughter, were in opposition to the film. But Bassett said it was to commemorate her legacy.