Just over a month after her untimely passing (and over a week after its official causes were revealed), the trailer to Whitney Houston's final motion picture Sparkle premiered this morning on NBC's Today show. It's all too sickeningly familiar. Icon meets unexpected (and arguably undignified) end. Endless parade of faces -- some famous, many only somewhat recognizable -- greatly exaggerate the depth of their relationship with icon, regretting that they, despite being such valued confidantes, couldn't save icon from self. Icon is remembered in touching, yet voyeuristically-public spectacle. Icon's last hurrah/comeback vehicle is repackaged on an accelerated schedule to cash in on the still-fresh loss. And today, we arrived at that fifth stage of grotesque public grief -- the trailer for said rushed project making its grand television debut to remind us all what we lost.
Expect, in the coming days, the pop-culture punditry to pick this trailer apart with all the vigor (but none of the credibility) of a forensics team. The same people who, days after her death, said this film showed Whitney finally free of her demons will likely now (post-toxicology report) wax rhapsodic on how her stellar performance clearly came from a place of turmoil.
We at SoulBounce have declined the Evite to the upcoming media séance that will spawn all these insights, and will instead treat Sparkle simply as the final performance by one of the greatest performers we've ever been blessed to experience. Sure, it smells like a reheated Dreamgirls (down to Mike Epps walking in Eddie Murphy's comic-turned-villanously-dramatic wingtips), and its plot would have been familiar even if this wasn't a remake. But with a screenplay by the celebrated Mara Brock-Akil and new music featuring its cast of talented singers, there's no keeping us away.