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YaYa DaCosta and Arlen Escarpata

Lifetime’s ambitious new made-for-TV movieWhitney gets a lot of things right.

For starters, Yaya DaCosta (Lee Daniels'The Butler) is spellbinding and compelling as a young Whitney Houston who enjoyed the riches and respect that came with her unparalleled fame but also struggled with the cultural and personal isolation that level of success can bring.

Arlen Escarpeta (Final Destination 5) is equally convincing as an even younger Bobby Brown. And when the small-screen flick premieres Saturday January 17, viewers will get a glimpse of the first time the two met at the 1989 Soul Train Awards. She was a nearly 26-year-old international pop star and he was 20 and just as rapidly securing his place as the bad boy of R&B. But the two had...

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