*TV One’s original film, Bobbi Kristina now ranks as the network’s third most-watched original movie premiere ever, across all key demos.
Directed by Ty Hodges, Bobbi Kristina stars breakout Joy Rovaris in the title role and Demetria McKinney who delivers an uncanny performance as the legendary Whitney Houston. The film also stars Nadji Jeter as Nick Gordon, Hassan Johnson as Bobby Brown, and Vivica A. Fox as Pat Houston.
The three airings of the biopic on premiere night had a combined reach of 2.2 Million Unique Viewers 2+. Additionally, on Twitter, the #BobbiKristina premiere trended nationally, ranking as high as #3 nationally.
In part two of EUR’s conversation with Joy, Demetria and Hassan, the performers share their emotions behind what it’s like to make history about history. And find offer out what they have to say to Bobby Brown and Whitney and Bobbi Kristina’s family about their take on the pop culture icons.
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Describe the emotions that come with making history about history.
Demetria: I don’t think I’ll ever have another experience like this one. To know that I had the love that I have for Ms. Houston. The respect. The admiration The way that she has influenced me. I’ve been a singer for a long time and that was inspired by her but in my singing, I’ve always made it a point to make a tribute to her just as a way to kind of show that she brought me through molestation. She brought me through homelessness. She brought me through single motherhood. She brought me through being beaten up. Her voice was the soundtrack to my life —what I couldn’t express. What I didn’t know. Even though she never met me, she was my therapy. So this experience felt almost like I was able to give her a little something back. I was able to give her her humanity. She was the bird in the cage that never got to sing outside of it. Always on display. Always gotta look cute – whether you want to sing or not, sing. Be Happy. Look gorgeous. Look great and don’t show anything other than that.
The beautiful thing about what I got a chance to learn from her was that it’s okay. At the end of the day, faith and love do ultimately conquer all. We may look at this as a tragedy because it is for us, but in the other life, she and Krissy finally got what they wanted, honey. They are together. They are free to able who they are. So this experience has transformed my idea of what celebrity is. It’s transformed my idea of how deep love travels and it’s given me a whole different appreciation for the relationship I have with my son. I didn’t realize how much Nippy and I were alike. We’ve had our share of controversy, our terriblenesses, our bad decisions. But ultimately, when God gave me my son, just like God gave her Krissy, At the end of the day, if no one else is rooting for me, we have each other. So I’m forever going to be in debt to Ms. Houston for giving me the desire to sing. Giving me the ability to make it through and giving me the opportunity to just show my appreciation.
Hassan: For me, professionally, I accepted the challenge. I was taken aback when I first received the phone call, and of course, I’m like, I can’t play Bobby. It’s impossible. No one is like him. I don’t even want to try to be or emulate but then professionally, that thing comes over you where your passion comes to the frontal lobe and you say, I think this is my calling. I think I have to do it. I felt a sense of obligation. And the chemistry with everyone on set was more than I could imagine and that’s what I love and thank God for. It’s a story that needs to be told. There’s some closure that was owed to the fans. I just accepted the challenge. I just hope I did a good job portraying who Bobby was as a human being. I don’t know if anyone paid attention to that, with all the negativity surrounding it. I felt a sense of obligation to be able to express who he was as a human being and his relationship with his daughter.
Joy: Clearly, this is life-changing for me. It’s my first big role so, like Demetria, I’ve always love Whitney. Since I was a little girl, she’s always been my favorite celebrity. So I joked with my mom, “Mom, can you believe Whitney Houston’s daughter has directly affected my world?” I believe in God so I kinda feel like Whitney was like, “That’s the one I want.” Whitney didn’t care for anyone as much as she cared for Krissy so for me to have the privilege to shed light on something that was so important to Whitney and to give this girl a voice, it’s life-changing. I couldn’t shake Krissy when I got back to L.A. It took me three weeks to get Krissy off Joy but in that time I learned so much about forgiving. I learned so much about openness and I even got a deeper appreciation for my own mother. Of course, it’s changed my life career-wise but also personally. From the very beginning, this was a personal mission for me to almost redeem Kriss ‘cause she said, “The world never got to see the real me.” So I feel like Joy has been entrusted to show the world Whitney’s prized possession. To show the world who this girl is as a person.
The story also, if you remove her parents, Whitney and Bobby as celebrities, then you realize that this story is very common and very relevant to young people today. They get caught up in these relationships that are toxic and no one knows or no one can pull them apart. Once a person has a hold on you like that, it’s very hard to come up from underneath it. Whether the parents are crippled by drugs or crippled by work or not around, whatever the reason is that the kid is cut off from the parent, these situations are allowed to grow and fester and people lose lives or people are tormented for the rest of their lives. So it was telling Krissy’s story but also hopefully saving a life of a kid who is also going through the same thing as Krissy.
What wisdom or lesson from Whitney/Bobby resonates with you most?
Demetria: The lesson with Whitney that resonates the most is faith. With all the allegations, with all the scrutiny, everybody kinda focused on that and the balancing act that this movie does with showing the why’s with showing the how’s with showing the who’s and everything involved beyond what everybody saw in the press. One of the big things that you see is the faith that Krissy was also taught by Whitney. She had her own crosses to bear, she had her own demons to fight but she never lost track of her soul. And that’s one of the things that I’ve always held to. Life changes, things get hard, decisions are mad but your faith, your foundation has to be there. Whatever it is, whoever it is, find it and it will help you.
Hassan: I think with Bobby, what resonates with me is just facing the demons. I’ve always felt that the world would be a much better place if we all faced our demons and shortcomings. We wouldn’t be so judgmental. We wouldn’t have such high expectations from people. For Bobby, there was no getting around anything for him. He faced everything head-on. I went back and saw interviews I hadn’t saw and I was just like, yeah… Bobby, he was a soldier on the front line for love and his family. That was it and that’s what resonated for me. Face your demons and shortcomings because you find out that they’re not so bad. Once you look yourself in the mirror and you can accept tragedy, triumph and everything else along with it, it’ll make you a better person. You’ll come out on top.
Lastly, is it your hope that the family is satisfied with how you have honored and portrayed Bobbi Kristina and Whitney Houston?
Joy: I think so. We humanized every single person. Nobody is the villain. You see why they made the choices that they made. You get an understanding for how things happened. I hope Bobby feels some closure from it.
Demetria: I hope that they get it. But I’m prayerful that even if they don’t get it they understand the sincerity with which we all approached it. From TV One to Ty the director to Viv (Vivica. A Fox) to us. They (the family) know things that we don’t know. We can only do with what we have but if they understand the heart behind it, the sincerity, the love and the passion that went into this project then prayerfully they will be accepting of it.
READ PART ONE OF OUR CONVERSATION WITH THE CAST HERE.