Lifetime content ripped from the headlines this April

Highlights 01 April 2021

Throughout the month, Lifetime (DStv channel 131) will be bringing us Wendy, Whitney and more movies ripped from the headlines.

You’ve scanned the headlines, caught the whispers, seen the scandalous photos and surfed the gossip blogs. Now it’s time for the Lifetime (DStv channel 131) story.

Throughout April, Lifetime original movies will tell shocking tales based on real-life people and events. Whether it’s women who faked their deaths to escape their abusive partners, celebrity scandals that were covered in all the blogs and magazines, or even biographies of the rich and famous like Whitney Houston (all the Whitney movies and doccies air on Lifetime on Saturday, 24 April) – Lifetime’s April movies will pull you into the story.

These movies aren’t just cunning, the characters are relatable – even talk show host and the queen of spilling tea, Wendy Williams, is the subject of a movie and a documentary (both of which will air on Saturday, 10 April). By the end of her rollercoaster, you’ll have your eyes dimmed, your bottom lip spread, lowered your voice register, flicked your wrists and recited her popular catchphrase: “How you doin?”

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Here’s what’s coming your way on Lifetime this April…

Death Saved My Life

While Death Saved My Life isn’t based on just one real-life event, it’s inspired by desperate women all over the world who’ve faked their deaths to escape their abusive partners.

From the outside, marketing guru Jade (Meagan Good) has it all: A beautiful house with a white picket fence and a perfect family with her handsome surgeon husband, Ed (Chiké Okonkwo). However, it’s all a facade. Beneath the surface, Ed is both physically and emotionally abusive.

He orders Jade to quit her job. And after much consideration, Jade gathers enough courage to leave the marriage. Ed hires a hitman to kill her because he’d rather “cut her up in a million pieces than let anyone have a piece of her”. And with no other options, since Ed has turned the police against Jade, the marketing guru fakes her death before leaving town. But Ed, undeterred, relentlessly stalks her.

Watch from Saturday, 3 April, on Lifetime (DStv channel 131) at 19:20

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When Love Kills
When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story

This distressing tale follows single-mom-turned-exotic-dancer Falicia Blakely (Niatia Kirkland aka rapper Lil Mama) who at 19, is arrested for murdering three men. Neglected by her mother, Stacey (Tami Roman) from a young age, Falicia drops out of school at 16 and gives birth to her son soon after.

Falicia longs for affection and a sense of belonging and her pimp and predatory abuser, Dino (Lance Gross), takes advantage of her inner demons. He showers her with affection, then draws Falicia into criminal activities.

When Love Kills is produced by actress Tasha Smith (most notable for her portrayal as outspoken Angela in the Tyler Perry Why Did I Get Married? movie franchise). Because she shares some of Falicia’s traumatic experiences, Tasha was interested in exploring ways in which society takes advantage of vulnerable young women instead of protecting them.

Watch from Saturday, 3 April, on Lifetime (DStv channel 131) at 20:50

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Searching For Neverland
Michael Jackson: Searching For Neverland

Michael Jackson impersonator Navi Charles stars as The King of Pop in this film, which is based on the 2014 memoir written by the pop icon’s security guards, Javon Beard (Sam Adegoke) and Bill Whitified (Chad L. Coleman).

Most of the film is told through Bill’s lens as he recalls Michael’s most intimate moments with his three children after returning to the US in 2006. The move back home comes after Michael’s child molestation charges have been dropped. He has just returned from his hiatus in Bahrain and is set for a musical comeback.

However, he struggles to shake off the scandals and paparazzi who follow him everywhere, leaving Michael overwhelmed and out of his wits.

Watch from Sunday, 4 April, on Lifetime (DStv channel 131) at 19:20

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Abducted: The Carlina White Story

KeKe Palmer plays Carlina White, a young woman who solves her own abduction case and reunites with her biological parents 23 years later.

The story begins in a New York hospital in 1987. An aggrieved Ann Pettway (Aunjanue Ellis), who’d suffered a series of miscarriages, desperately steals a newborn baby. Disguised as a nurse, Ann flees the building with another couple’s baby in hand. By the time the police are alerted, Ann has already vanished.

Years later, Carlina launches an investigation to prove that Ann isn’t her biological mother – and her suspicions prove to be true. Carlina goes on to press kidnapping charges against Ann, the woman who raised her.

Watch from Sunday, 4 April, on Lifetime (DStv channel 131) at 20:50

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Wendy Williams: The Movie 

The queen of daytime television, Wendy Williams, has built an empire from reporting the messiest and juiciest celebrity scandals in Hollywood on her gossip talk show, The Wendy Williams Show. Now she’s taking the hot seat as executive producer and airs her own dirty laundry in her biopic, Wendy Williams: The Movie, starring Ciera Payton as the larger-than-life, say-it-like-it-is titular character.

It’s worth noting that Wendy isn’t holding anything back. She lays it all on the table. She details her childhood eating disorder and self-esteem issues, which morphed into substance abuse in her adult life.

She opens up about being sexually assaulted by an unnamed musician, and even getting fired from her first radio-hosting job. It’s not all doom and gloom though. Fast-forward to her late-20s and Wendy drops her drug addiction. She climbs the ranks at another urban radio station, and after a series of miscarriages, welcomes a son with her husband-turned-manager Kevin (Morocco Omari).

However, there isn’t a happily-ever-after for the couple. Wendy files for divorce when reports hit headlines that Kevin has been cheating on her and that he’d fathered the “other woman’s” child in 2019. The biopic captures Wendy’s highs and lows, which will have you rooting for her.

Watch from Saturday, 10 April, on Lifetime (DStv channel 131) at 19:20

Watch The Wendy Williams Show, weekdays on BET (DStv channel 129) at 10:15

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Wendy Williams: What A Mess!

The Wendy Williams biopic is immediately followed by a complementary documentary, Wendy Williams: What A Mess! Together with her close associates and loved ones, the talk show host offers a closer look into her life. If you thought Wendy couldn’t get any more personal in her biopic, think again.

A teary-eyed Wendy looks straight into the camera and – with minimal make-up and a dishevelled wig – spills the tea: first on her career highlights, then her emotional breakdown following the demise of her marriage. “What do you do when you find out that your marriage is about to be all the way over?… You open the wine,” says Wendy, detailing her alcohol relapse in 2019, which saw her taking extended breaks from her talk show.

Wendy eventually checked into what she refers to as a “sober house”. But it was far from a pleasant experience. “After turning the world on with my smile, I’d sneak [into a private room]. I’d read my newspaper and [scroll through the Internet] to see what the blogs were saying about me. I was driven back to the halfway house by these horrible people who’d [refuse] to have conversations with me. [I wasn’t coping],” explains a wailing Wendy, adding “I [hope] that my vulnerability is an inspiration to someone. If I can do it [recover], so can you.”

Watch from Saturday, 10 April, on Lifetime (DStv channel 131) at 20:50

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College Admissions
College Admissions Scandal

This film is inspired by the 2019 college admission scandal in which 53 influential people – including actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman – were arrested for paying college admission councillor Rick Singer (Michael Shanks) to secure their less-than-brilliant kids a spot at an elite university.

We follow the tale of wealthy moms Caroline (Penelope Ann Miller) and Bethany (Mia Kirshner) who go to extreme measures like faking their children’s athletic photoshoots and manipulating their kids to cheat in exams just so they can continue studying at prestigious colleges. “This story is about privilege and corruption. It’s about people who don’t follow the rules because they think they’re above rules,” says Mia about her character’s illegal actions.

Watch from Sunday, 11 April, on Lifetime (DStv channel 131) at 19:20

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Stolen By My Mother: The Kamiyah Mobley Story

As with Carlina’s story, Kamiyah (Rayven Symone Ferrell) is also abducted from the hospital at birth. But the difference with this movie is that after discovering that Gloria (Niecy Nash) isn’t her biological mother, and that she stole her from the hospital, 16-year-old Kamiyah remains with her kidnapper mom… until an anonymous tip-off leads to Gloria’s arrest.

Watch from Sunday, 11 April, on Lifetime (DStv channel 131) at 20:30

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Salt-N-Pepa: The Movie

Before their chart-topping hits, Push It (1986) and Let’s Talk About Sex (1990), iconic music duo Cheryl “Salt” James (G.G. Townson) and Sandra “Pepa” Denton (Laila Odom) were nursing students in New York’s Queensborough Community College, who bonded over music.

After helping their aspiring music producer pal, Hurby Azor (Cleveland Berto), to compile a song for his class assignment, the two were offered a record deal. What was meant to be a break from varsity for a single semester turned into an illustrious music career that would earn them a lifetime achievement award at the Grammys in 2020. The biopic shares their triumphs and low points, as well as their relationship with the kind-of third member of the group, DJ Spinderella (Isys Alexis), who briefly appears in the movie.

Watch from Saturday, 17 April, on Lifetime (DStv channel 131) at 20:50

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Abducted: The Mary Stauffer Story

Starring Alyson Hannigan as high school teacher Mary Stauffer, this moving film is based on the real-life events when Mary and her 8-year-old daughter Beth (Daphne Hoskins) were abducted at gunpoint by her former student, Ming Sen Shiue (Howie Lai). While held hostage, Ming sexually abuses Mary and attempts to skip town with her and Beth. In a twist of fate, the mother and daughter manage to break free and escape after 53 days. Ming is arrested and Mary and Beth reunite with their loved ones.

Watch from Sunday, 18 April, on Lifetime (DStv channel 131) at 19:20

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Manson’s Lost Girls

In the late ’60s, social misfit Linda (Mackenzie Mauzy) joins famous hippie cult leader Charles Manson’s crew. Along with his followers, Linda falls for Charles’s advances and is tricked into helping him orchestrate illicit crimes around Los Angeles. The cult goes from robbing corner stores to hijacking cars and breaking into houses. But never in a million years did Linda imagine she would become an accomplice in a murder spree that involved actress Sharon Tate and four others.

Watch from Sunday, 18 April, on Lifetime (DStv channel 131) at 20:50

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Whitney 

Actress Yaya DaCosta stars as iconic songstress Whitney Houston in a tale about her rise to global stardom between 1989-1994. The biopic captures Whitney’s battle with substance abuse, her volatile marriage to musician Bobby Brown and the birth of their daughter, Bobbi Kristina. As Whitney films her blockbuster hit, The Bodyguard (1992), her personal life is in shreds and her relationships, especially with her former gospel singer mother, Cissy Houston, are ripped apart by her drug habit and her marriage to Bobby.

Watch from Saturday, 24 April, on Lifetime (DStv channel 131) at 19:20

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Whitney Houston & Bobbi Kristina: Didn’t We Almost Have It All

Following the movie, Lifetime brings you a two-hour documentary that examines the parallels between Whitney Houston and her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown. They both lived under their mother’s shadows, their tumultuous romantic relationships took over their lives, and they were the centre of media attention. More than anything, the startling similarity between the mother and daughter is that Whitney was discovered dead in her hotel bathtub in 2012. Two years later, Bobbi followed in her footsteps and was found unresponsive, also in a bathtub.

Watch from Saturday, 24 April, on Lifetime (DStv channel 131) at 20:50

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Bobbi Kristina
Bobbi Kristina 

To end the Whitney-and-Bobbi-themed evening, get an in-depth look at Bobbi Kristina Brown’s (Joy Rovaris) troubled life before she died at 22. The movie is set just after Whitney’s (Demetria McKinney) death, and a grieving Bobbi struggles to come to grips with the loss. Aside from chasing a music career, Bobbi’s unstable relationship with her adoptive-brother-turned-boyfriend, Nick Gordon (played by Nadji Jeter), takes over the spotlight, particularly after they announce their engagement and her family immediately raise their concerns.

Watch from Saturday, 24 April, on Lifetime (DStv channel 131) at 22:20

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Toni Braxton Unbreak My Heart Ratings Lifetime
Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart

Preacher’s kid Toni Braxton was an overnight success after she was discovered by mega music producers L.A. Reid and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds – who worked with Whitney in the ’80s. In her biopic, Toni (Lex Scott Davis) details difficulties after she is diagnosed with lupus, which later leads to her marriage ending. She also discusses her son’s autism disorder and the unshakeable bond she shares with her sisters Traci, Towanda, Trina and Tamar (all from the reality show, Braxton Family Values) as her backup singers.

Watch from Sunday, 25 April, on Lifetime (DStv channel 131) at 19:20

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Oscar Pistorius: Blade Runner Killer

South Africa was at a standstill in 2013 after reports surfaced that gold-medallist Paralympian Oscar Pistorius (Andreas Damm) had killed his girlfriend and model, Reeva Steenkamp (Toni Garrn), on Valentine's Day. The movie dramatizes their turbulent relationship and the murder trial that followed.

Watch from Sunday, 25 April, on Lifetime (DStv channel 131) at 20:50

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