CULTURE CLASSICS – Waiting to Exhale


waiting to exhale cast

What’s better than a movie with a strong black female lead? A film with four strong black female leads. Enter the OG black romantic drama and official #CultureClassic Waiting to Exhale.

Waiting to Exhale released in 1995 and starred Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, and Lela Rochon. The women played a quartet of friends who get together frequently to talk, laugh, cry, and provide support to each other. Venting about life and love are the main topics as they all struggle to find their Mr. Right.

You have Savannah (Houston) the successful tv producer who believes that one day her married lover will leave his wife for her. Bernie (Bassett) who abandoned her own career dreams to raise a family and support her husband who then leaves her for a white female co-worker. Robin (Rochon) a high-powered executive, and mistress to a married man. And Glo, a beauty salon owner and a overprotective single mother who’s ex comes out as gay. They go through their own very personal journeys of self-discovery and come to realizations that change their lives but not their connections to one another.

Waiting to Exhale was a huge financial success. It opened at number-one at the box office, making $14.1 million in its opening weekend. In total, the film grossed $82 million after only costing $16 million to make. Showing once again that black films can bring in audiences and cash.

waiting to exhale fire scene

The #CultureClassic label for the film comes from the numerous classic scenes in the film. From Basset’s torching of her husband’s car to the many funny and heartwarming toast the ladies share. It’s quite literally the definition of black girl magic in movie form.

The Soundtrack

The soundtrack could be considered a classic all it’s own. Every song was sung by a female African-American artist. It included two number-one hits “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” by Whitney Houston and “Let It Flow” by Toni Braxton. It also featured “Not Gon’ Cry” by Mary J. Blige, “Sittin’ Up in My Room” by Brandy, and “Count on Me” by Whitney Houston and CeCe Winans (all three breaking into the top ten on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart).


The film was the directorial debut of Forest Whitaker and helped solidify Houston as a movie star. And finally, the movie is an adaption of the 1992 best-selling novel of the same name by legendary author Terry McMillan.

If you enjoyed that look at a throwback classic. Check out more of our #CultureClassics:

Written by creator for The Culture @TalentedMrFord

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