As Whitney Houston, Ackie exudes the singer's charisma and star power, capturing the essence of her iconic voice and captivating stage presence. Despite the formulaic structure of the film, Ackie's performance elevates it, bringing depth and emotion to the portrayal of Houston's tumultuous personal life and struggles with addiction.
“I know that by playing Whitney I’m potentially putting myself in the firing line,” she says. “Though I’m more aware of [what I’m getting into] because I’m 31 and she was 19 when she entered the industry”.
Still, she’s anxious. “I love being in front of the camera and telling stories, but [fame] feels alien to me. I can already see my life changing. And I really like my life!” She says she’s worried about losing her privacy.
Losing “Nay” – that’s what her loved ones call her. “It’s a weird time, dude!” While I Wanna Dance with Somebody may not offer anything particularly new or groundbreaking in the realm of celebrity biopics, Ackie's portrayal of Whitney Houston is a standout performance that will surely be remembered for years to come.
The film serves as a tribute to the late singer and a reminder of the enduring impact of her talent and legacy in the world of music. “We like the binaries of good and bad,” Ackie says. “But I’m a big believer that you can be many things at once.
When I think about Whitney – yes, obviously there are the drugs and her illness of addiction. But in comparison to the amount that she gave us musically, and especially if you’re of a minority – whether that’s your s*xuality or the colour of your skin – the access she provided us is huge.
On top of that, the sacrifices she made that allow people like me to even play her in the first place. Without Whitney, or so many other pioneers of that time, we wouldn’t even be talking about diversity today. To me, that far outweighs any of the other parts of her life”.