Fans of R&B stars New Edition are still gushing over the pitch-perfect retelling of their rise to fame in BET’s The New Edition Story!
The three-part mini-series, which wrapped on Thursday night, has been noted by several entertainment publications, including the Los Angeles Times, as being one of the best musical biopics in some time by remaining true to the experiences of the “Can You Stand The Rain?” singers — Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, Ronnie DeVoe, Ralph Tresvant, Johnny Gill, and Bobby Brown.
Almost from the first mentions of The New Edition Story coming to light, most believed that the retreading of one particular alum’s life; specifically, Brown’s, would completely make or break the entirety of the six-hour autobiographical saga, and sure enough, the “My Prerogative” singer’s sections were definitely some of the most intriguing and memorable.
For a time in entertainment news history, mentions of Brown’s drug-related court appearances and many, many driving violations popped up in the headlines almost at a fever pitch, but none more so than during the ’90s, when the then solo-performer often found himself making constant missteps on the wrong side of the law, usually with then-wife Whitney Houston by his side (their 15-year union ended in 2007).
Incidentally, a 2015 Lifetime biopic on the troubled life of the “I Will Always Love You” star, Whitney, involved several scenes that either heavily implied or flat-out misrepresented how Houston was the person who turned Bobby onto hardcore drugs, while Brown, a musical bad-boy whose prominence faded in the shadow of his superstar wife, tried his hardest to steer her back to the straight-and-narrow to no avail.
Directed by one of Houston’s co-stars from 1995’s Waiting To Exhale, Angela Bassett, the Whitney project was lambasted heavily by the public and seen as being completely disrespectful to both the memory of Houston, as well as the harsh truth of Bobby’s long-noted problems, which stemmed long before he ever met the singer at the Soul Train Music Awards in 1989, as noted in a 1992 interview with Vanity Fair.
“I hit him in the head [when I first met him],” she recalled.
“I was talking to some dear friends of mine. the Winans, and they were sitting in back of him. I’m hugging them and hitting Bobby in the head. And Robyn, my executive assistant, turns to me and says, ‘Quit hitting Bobby in the head. I don’t think he likes it.’ And I looked down at him and he turned around with that coolness he has and I said, ‘Bobby, I’m so sorry.’ He said, ‘It’s all right.’ And that was it.”
Also as proof of Brown’s long-standing problems, a recently unearthed performance of the Ghostbusters II lead-in, “On My Own,” at the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards, partially features a moment where an energetic Brown accidentally jiggles a small baggie of cocaine outside out of his pants pocket as he dances around the stage. With the eyes of the award ceremony’s producers and audience directly locked onto him, Bobby quickly but noticeably steps forward to retrieve the suspicious-looking substance before continuing on with his performance, eventually placing the item back into his right pocket. The moment can be seen above at the 1:00 mark.
Surprisingly, the sketchy moment, albeit memorable, was one of many that wasn’t recreated for the film, although it probably isn’t difficult to understand why that is. For those who haven’t seen the film yet, The New Edition Story is now streaming in full on the BET website, as well as on several on-demand cable services. Also, check your TV listings for replays of the entire mini-series.
[Featured Image by Paul Marotta/Stringer/Getty Images]