Naomi Ackie Looks Like Whitney Houston in “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” but Is She Singing?

Naomi Ackie Looks Like Whitney Houston in “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” but Is She Singing?

I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY, Naomi Ackie as Whitney Houston, 2022. Sony Pictures Entertainment /Courtesy Everett Collection

The star-studded cast of Kasi Lemmons’s new flick “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” includes Naomi Ackie, Ashton Sanders, and Stanley Tucci taking on the roles of the iconic Whitney Houston and influential individuals in her life. Ackie is playing Houston herself, and she does a tremendous job at it. Not only do the two look strikingly alike, Ackie captures many of Houston’s mannerisms while portraying her strength, her struggle, and, above all, her ability to change the game of music forever. With such comparable looks comes the question of whether the voice comes along too. Though Ackie makes the perfect person to pick up the role of Houston, is she actually belting out the songs featured in the movie? The short answer is no.

Previously, mastermind music producer Clive Davis said that Ackie’s portrayal of Houston was spot on, but Houston’s actual vocals would be used throughout the film. Davis, who helped bring Houston to prominence, knew the singer for more than half her life, which means he also knew it would be close to impossible to clone her talent and singing ability. “When it came to Whitney, we just didn’t think anyone could capture her vocal genius, so it will be the Whitney voice in the film,” Davis told USA Today in May 2021.

In a December interview on “Live With Kelly and Ryan,” Ackie herself discussed her role and how challenging the eight months of prep to nail Houston’s character was, saying, “I think it was that: knowing that so many people love Whitney and not wanting to let anybody down and trying to portray the best parts of her and the most complicated parts of her, so it took a long time.”

Hitting those notes in the way Houston was able to must be close to impossible, and you know what they say — no one can sing it like Whitney.

You can relive the magic that Houston brought to every song and performance she touched when “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” hits theaters on Dec. 23.