Audiences in the 1990s flocked to Waiting to Exhale in their droves, grateful for a rare portrayal of the lives and loves of African American women and affecting performances by Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett.

Based on Terry McMillan’s bestselling 1992 novel, the film broke new cinematic ground as it centred on the lives and romantic tensions of four upwardly mobile black American women. Here, finally, was a film that transcended not only the gloom of the post-industrial ghetto but also the macho swagger of self-destructive young black men, which had held sway at the cinema in films such as Boyz n the Hood (1991) and Juice (1992).

Starring the late Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine and Lela Rochon, Waiting to Exhale marked the return of a kind of black woman’s film not seen since Julie Dash’s 1991 movie Daughters of the Dust

Read full feature via BFI here