Trying to be someone else is hard enough when it’s not one of the most revered artists in R&B of the past 20 years. In a recent interview, the actress originally set to
play Aaliyah in the upcoming Lifetime biopic Aaliyah: Princess of R&B.
Last Friday (July 18th), Alexandra Shipp was announced as the new star of the Aaliyah biopic after Zendaya Coleman dropped out last month. According to Coleman’s three part Instagram message, she did not feel “morally okay moving forward with the production” for a number of reasons, one being disagreements with Aaliyah’s family over music rights and more:
The reason I chose not to do the Aaliyah movie had nothing to do with the haters or people telling me I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t talented enough or I wasn’t black enough. The main reasons were the production value wasn’t there. There were complications with the music rights and I 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.
Days after Coleman was announced as the lead actress in the Lifetime movie, Aaliyah’s uncle and former manager Barry Hankerson informed TMZ that Aaliyah’s family was displeased with Lifetime’s refusal to involve members of the family. Hankerson claimed that the family would block any usage of Aaliyah’s music in the film.