Decision to Cast Zendaya Coleman as Aaliyah in Biopic Causes Backlash

one in a million aaliyah biopic

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Disney star Zendaya Coleman is VERY excited she was chosen to play one of the biggest roles of her lifetime (so far). However, many are not thrilled with the casting decision and have raised their concerns.

Coleman quoted “I’m just  17-year-old girl who got cast to play one her biggest inspirations.”

The biopic will air on the Lifetime Network and is tentatively titled Aaliyah: Princess of R&B. Many of Aaliyah’s are steamed that a bi-racial actress will portray the late singer who was killed in a plane crash at the tender age of 22 in 2001.

Coleman and her father respond to the criticism with the following:

A lot of people say I’m not black enough. Half black is just enough. It doesn’t matter what color you are, it’s about how you portray the character. For those that don’t know, Angela Bassett and Tina Turner, they look nothing alike but she was that character so I think that’s what it’s all about.”


Her father Kazeme Ajamu also joked:

And one thing, they’re shooting this in the summer spending lots of time in the sun. She’ll get dark enough.

Aaliyah’s family does not advocate the made-for-tv-movie and has voiced their opinion as well.

“Aaliyah was more than a singer, she was -and is still – an American music icon whose legacy continues to live on and influence today’s music culture, just as Ray Charles, Notorious B.I.G., Selena and Johnny Cash.

Considering the magnitude of her fans’ affection alone, she deserves to have a tribute much more grand than a television network debut that won’t even consider the perspectives of those who were closest to Aaliyah.

Disregarding the families and dishonoring the legacies of celebrated figures who have passed on, big networks want to exploit their stories for a buck. We’re here to make it clear that it’s not okay!

Lifetime Television is trying to dictate the status of our heroes, our heroines and – in this case – our beloved Aaliyah. We implore everyone to call Lifetime Television, send emails and bombard social media so they know we demand respect for our cultural icons.

We will not sit idly by while they misrepresent and reap profits from our luminaries. There is more at stake than the public could imagine.”

What is next for Coleman and the Lifetime Network? Aaliyah’s family has already issued a statement accusing the network “has a habit of taking the lives of famous people and “[exploiting] their stories for a buck.”

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