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‘Didn’t We Say Keke Palmer?’: Trailer of Whitney Houston Biopic ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’ Receives Mixed Reviews as Fans Mention Other Picks to Portray the Singer

Iconic vocalist Whitney Houston’s life story is getting the big-screen treatment in the upcoming biographical drama “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” The first trailer was released on Sept. 15 and shows British actress Naomi Ackie putting forth her best effort at embodying the influential singer.

The film, which is distributed by Sony Pictures, is said to be a “no-holds-barred portrait of the complex and multifaceted woman behind The Voice.” The story will highlight Houston’s New Jersey roots, where she sang in her church’s choir, and the highs and lows of the Grammy Award-winning artist’s triumphant career and heartbreaking personal life.

Actress Naomi Ackie reenacts Whitney Houston as she sang the national anthem at the 1991 Super Bowl. Photo: Sony Pictures Entertainment “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” trailer/YouTube

The “I Will Always Love You” singer passed away in February 2012. She was found unconscious in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. Her death was later ruled an accidental drowning. She was 48 years old. Taking on the task of portraying one of the most beloved musical talents is no easy feat, and reactions to the trailer are proving just that.

“Hoping THIS ONE honors her in the way her LEGACY & IMPACT deserve. #theVOICE” wrote singer Major.

“How many Whitney Houston biopics they gone do, cause chile” commented another social media user.

A third wrote, “I don’t think so. This ain’t gave me nuthn. Yaya & Gabrielle did the damn thing tho…let Whitney rest. Sighh.”

In 2015, “America’s Next Top Model” runner-up Yaya DaCosta was cast as the singer in Lifetime’s made-for-TV movie “Whitney.” Three years later, actress Gabrielle Dennis, who currently stars on HBO’s “A Black Lady Sketch Show,” portrayed the unmatched talent in BET’s “The Bobby Brown Story.”

“Didn’t we say Keke Palmer?” wrote another person. In August, a tweet saying that the “Nope” actress and Houston share similar mannerisms became part of a viral conversation, where fans declared the young actress as the best person who should portray the singer on the big screen. Palmer seemingly endorsed the idea when she retweeted the post along with the message, “Let’s get the movie made y’all. I’m ready to  ACK, we abt to weep in the theaters.”

Others, however, are open to giving Ackie’s portrayal a chance to impress them. “This actually feels like an official biopic unlike the others,” tweeted one person.

Some of the other comments included, “A whole vibe! AND THEY USED HER VOICE TOO,” and “She might not look exactly like Whitney, but the wigs and wardrobe is spot on!!” 

“I Wanna Dance With Somebody” will be released exclusively to theaters on Dec. 21.

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