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Waiting to Exhale Turns 20: Babyface, Loretta Devine & Angela Bassett Reflect


Credit: 20th Century Fox

It’s hard to believe that Waiting to Exhale was released two decades ago, on December 22, 1995.  Based on Terry McMillan‘s bestselling 1992 novel, the movie followed the story of four friends dealing with their respective relationships, and was one of the few that explored the romantic relationships of African-American women in a genuine way.  Now the cast is reflecting on what the movie represented for the African-American community.

Waiting to Exhale was important 20 years ago because it gave black women a voice and brought attention to their ideas on love and marriage,” actress Loretta Devine, who played Gloria, tells the Los Angeles Times.  “Now, like then, women want the world to know what women want.”

Angela Bassett, who played Bernadine, adds: “It showed women that in spite of fractured relationships, joy, peace, love and kinship are always a possibility. It broke perception, preconception and history.”

Waiting to Exhale, directed by Forest Whitaker, also starred the late Whitney Houston and Lela Rochon,  It went on to earn $81.5 million internationally.

The film’s Grammy-nominated soundtrack was also a success, composed by Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, who worked with Houston, Cece Winans, Mary J. Blige and Aretha Franklin.

“Forest came to me,” recalls Edmonds. “I was familiar with the book. I didn’t know he was doing the movie. He talked to me about doing the music. I thought I would write a couple of songs and he said, ‘I don’t want you just to write the songs. I want you to score the film.’ I said I never have scored a film. He said, ‘You can do it. I’ll work with you.'”

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