Aside from her marriage to Bobby Brown, the one relationship synonymous with Whitney Houston is the one shared between the icon and her longtime friend and employee, Robyn Crawford. For decades, the public analyzed whether or not Houston and Crawford’s relationship was more than platonic. Houston always denied it, but a few years ago, Crawford said otherwise. Now, a new Netflix film Beauty is reportedly based on their hidden love affair.
How ‘Beauty’ resembles Whitney Houston’s alleged suppressed romance with Robyn Crawford
Beauty focuses on a young African-American singer whose talent is viewed as too much high earning potential for her to live out loud as a lesbian woman. Beauty is played by Gracie Marie Bradley. Those around her who are part of her career see her as a meal ticket and the next big thing, while her personal life with a close friend and confidant suffers as a result, and she too is semi-destructive.
In the movie, there are also several similarities between the character of Beauty and Houston. Houston was criticized early in her career for being too pop and accused of shunning her urban roots. In the movie, Beauty says: “I don’t know how to sing Black or white, I just know how to sing.” Houston said at one point the same thing, instead, she explained that her roots were gospel music. Beauty’s character also has a similar hairstyle to Houston as she did in her early days, and fashions that resemble what the singer wore. Her mother’s character is also heavily involved in her career, as Houston’s mother Cissy was.
Regarding the similar relationship to Crawford, the two women in the film are close friends, and roommates at one point. Houston and Crawford’s first apartment was a shared one.
The film initially premiered during the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival. Lena Waithe, who is one-half of the screenwriting team and an open member of the LGBTQ+ community, is critically acclaimed for other projects such as Queen & Slim but received mixed reactions for Beauty.
The film also stars Nicey Nash, Giancarlo Esposito, and Sharon Stone. It’s currently in the Top 10 on Netflix. Houston’s first authorized biopic premieres on Christmas 2022.
Lena Waithe is an admitted Whitney Houston fanatic
Whether or not the film is truly based on Houston will have to be confirmed by The Chi creator, but she’s made it known she is one of Houston’s biggest fans. Therefore, the idea is not far-fetched.
Waithe has been a fan of Houston’s since the moment she heard her singing “The Greatest Love of All” as she explained in an essay for InStyle Magazine. She attended her first Houston concert in her hometown of Chicago in 1999 while Houston was on her My Love Is Your Love Tour. While Waithe was bummed to learn she had nosebleed seats, she described the experience as an outer body one. But she jokes, with some truth, that her biggest regret from that night is not buying a concert t-shirt. Since then, she’s made it a point to collect vintage T-Shirts with Houston’s photo.
“I have about six that I wear regularly around the house and to work, usually with gray sweatpants, sneakers, and a snapback,” she writes. “My wife, Alana [Mayo], likes to tease me and say that I have a Whitney shirt for every day of the week. And I’m like, “Yeah, I do.” And I’m totally fine with wearing the same ones again and again.”
What Robyn Crawford told Lena Waithe about her relationship with Whitney Houston
Waithe had the chance to interview Crawford in 2019 while she was promoting her memoir A Song For You: My Life With Whitney Houston, which detailed her lifelong friendship and alleged brief romance with Houston. Crawford says their romance was brief, lasing just one summer. She says Houston ended the romantic aspect of the relationship due to her star rising and fear that she’d be judged because of her sexuality.
“We were exploring each other,” Crawford told Waithe in an interview for Oprah Magazine. “Yes, we ate up that first summer together, talking about everything, talking about music, spending time together, misbehaving together. You name it, we did it. We were intimate with all of it. And the physical part was like a river. We both dived in, and there was goodness there. But the big picture was always where she was going. And our friendship was the foundation.”