I posted a few weeks ago about Zendaya Coleman being cast as the leading role in the controversial biopic of late singer, Aaliyah. Since then, she’s gracefully bowed out due to some harsh criticism from Aaliyah fans and push back from the singer’s family.
It’s no secret that Aaliyah’s family is doing everything they can to halt production and have publicly stated that they will block Lifetime from obtaining rights to the singer’s music. The family has gone on record and is determined to not only cast an A-list actress as the lead, but to have it released on the big screen, similar to Tina Turner’s, What’s Love Got to Do With It.
Despite the controversy, Lifetime has moved forward in casting actress Alexandra Shipp as the new lead and talk show host, Wendy Williams, has spilled the beans about being the new Executive Producer for the film. Shipp was recently named the lead actress in VH1’s Drumline sequel and she’s been featured in Disney’s, Victorious.
To put rumors to rest, Zendaya released a statement in a series of videos via Instagram, which stated:
Let me just explain something. The reason why I chose not to do the Aaliyah movie had nothing to do with the haters or people telling me that I couldn’t do it, I wasn’t talented enough, or I wasn’t black enough. It had absolutely nothing to do with that.”
“The main reasons were that the production value wasn’t there, there were complications with the music rights, and I just felt like it wasn’t being handled delicately considering the situation. And I tried my best to reach out to the family on my own, and I wrote a letter, but I was unable to do so; therefore, I felt not really morally okay with moving forward with the project.”
“With all that being said, congratulations to the new woman playing Aaliyah; I only hope she does not have to deal with half the hate that I had to deal with. And remember that we are all human beings trying to do what we love to do. Let’s practice motivation and love; not discrimination and hate. All right?”
Either way, I’m neutral on whether the leading role should be A-list or D; I just hope they do the film the right way and tastefully. I also hope the family isn’t being driven by greed. We shall see how this unfolds.