Angela Bassett is set to make her directorial debut in the Whitney Houston biopic, Whitney. airing on Lifetime January 17, 2015.

Bassett, who starred with Houston in the 1995 movie Waiting to Exhale has faced criticism from Houston’s family for digging in to the late singer’s personal life and relationship with Bobby Brown. Houston’s mother Cissy publicly stated her objections to the movie, saying that, “No one connected with this movie knew Whitney or anything about her relationship with (ex-husband) Bobby (Brown) … 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.”

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Bassett defended her participation in the film by responding, “I can understand. I consider it a gift that was given to me to tell this story, and to tell it with love, compassion and dignity. Like everyone, I adored her, and at its core it’s a love story."

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The film stars Yaya Dacosta  (Lee Daniels’ The Butler) as Houston and Arlen Escarpeta (Final Destination 5) as Bobby Brown, with singer Deborah Cox providing the vocal performances. The story will focus heavily on the relationship between the two, who were married in 1992 and later divorced in 2007 after having a child together named Bobbi Kristina.

The Lifetime Original Movie is set to follow an hourlong documentary Beyond the Headlines: Whitney Houston which will include interviews with friends and industry insiders into Houston’s career and later death in 2012. 

Images via eonline & Lifetime

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