Daysha Broadway won an Emmy for editing “A Black Lady Sketch Show” in 2021, the same day found out she had been hired for Kasi Lemmons‘ Whitney Houston biopic, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” “It’s crazy because while I was getting dressed and getting ready to walk down, my agent texted me and was like, ‘Oh my God, you got the Whitney movie!’ I had interviewed the week before the Emmys. I saw that text message and I just threw my phone on the bed and I was like, I can’t think about that right now because that’s crazy. The idea of me editing a film with Kasi Lemmons is crazy. And it’s about Whitney Houston. That’s a lot.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.
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“I Wanna Dance With Somebody” is a joyous, emotional, heartbreaking celebration of the life and music of Houston, one of the greatest female vocalists of all time. The film tracks the singer’s journey from obscurity to musical superstardom.
“I grew up listening to Whitney,” Broadway reveals. “I grew up in the early 90s. I was listening and finding music right as ‘The Bodyguard’ was coming out. I remember, distinctly, ‘Queen of the Night’ being my jam. It was my song back in the day. And ‘I’m Every Woman.’ I remember thinking she was so cool when I was younger, because TLC was in her music video and I was obsessed with TLC. I was always a fan of hers, but didn’t know much about her personal life. I think like most people I knew about the struggles at the end. I’ve always seen her from a public standpoint. I learned so much more about her just researching for the film.”
Some of the most complicated work Broadway does in the film is weaving the flashy concert performances into more intimate, personal moments for Houston. “It was honestly kind of difficult,” she admits. “We had a much thicker script than the movie you saw. The lyrics weren’t written into the script, so I knew those performances were going to be two to three minutes, just knowing the songs. Then it was about, as Cissy [Houston] (Whitney’s mother) says in the film, every song is a story. I had to think about it that way. If we’re cutting to a performance it has to be for a reason. We have to utilize that performance to move the story forward. It’s not a concert film. The best way to do it was intercutting a lot of it.”
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She later describes one of the most pivotal scenes of the film, stating, “‘The National Anthem’ was a cultural reset. There was Marvin Gaye and then Whitney Houston. And when she did it, it changed the world. Obviously I was a little nervous cutting that because it’s such a moment. If you mess it up, everyone will know it. It was such a phenomenon. But it is probably one of the more emotional moments in the film because we tried to build it up with emotion. By the time we get there in her story, we know where Whitney is and how she’s feeling before she walks out into that stadium. It’s really emotional and triumphant for her.”
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