Whitney starred in her first film in 1992, The Bodyguard with Kevin Costnera runaway box office success and the biggest movie of her career. The film didn’t only establish her film career, but included one of her signature songs: her cover of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You.” Rearranged into a soul ballad with a saxophone solo, the song includes a four-minute gradual crescendo that slowly submerges the listener until a final surge and key change pulls one under the tide of Whitney’s unparalleled sonic versatility. It’s a transcendent moment that almost wasn’t—as Costner elaborated in a stirring speech at Whitney’s funeral, the song selected was almost “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted.”

Whitney would continue her film success with starring roles in the Black women’s romance film Waiting to Exhale in 1995 alongside Angela Bassett and Lela Rochon, and The Preacher’s Wife in 1996 with Denzel Washington and Courtney B. Vance, with the latter resulting in the best-selling gospel album of all time, a record that holds to this day.