Zendaya Drops From Aaliyah Lifetime Movie After Intense Backlash

Zendaya17-year-old Disney star Zendaya has dropped out of the Lifetime Aaliyah biopic, her rep confirmed to Us Weekly. The young up-and-comer also shared the news with her fans on her official Twitter account, saying, "Aaliyah has always been a source of inspiration to Zendaya ... She was honored to portray her and pay tribute to her. If she is going to do it, she wants to do it right."

After the announcement earlier this month that the former Dancing With the Stars contestant would portray the late great R&B singer, there were complaints that she wasn't the right choice. Some people thought her skin was too light, while others thought she was too inexperienced to play the "Try Again" singer, who was killed at 22 in a plane crash in 2001.

Lifetime also tweeted the news of Zendaya's departure from the project, saying, "We are sad Zendaya will no longer portray Aaliyah. Production is currently on hold."

While there's no other "official" information behind the decision to halt production, Aaliyah's family has been vocal about their opposition to the endeavor. They don't feel like a small screen adaptation will do justice to the singer's life, and apparently are refusing to release the rights for her music to be used.

Jomo Hankerson, Aaliyah's cousin and president of her label, Blackground Records, said, "We want a major studio release along the lines of 'What's Love Got to Do with It,' the Tina Turner movie ... this needs A-list actors, A-list talent that can breathe life into what we think is a phenomenal story."

The family was also upset that they were not even consulted for the film. Hankerson said, "They have people they can talk to, people who can provide lots of color ... but if you don't talk to us, it's not in the story."

More from The Stir: Lifetime's 'Lizzie Borden' Is Unexpectedly Awesome In Every Way

Sounds like it's kind of a mess over there. All we can do is speculate on the reasons Zendaya dropped out of the project, but I doubt it has anything to do with not wanting to play Aaliyah.

She tweeted earlier this month, "She's been an inspiration and influence in my whole career, her talent still shines brighter then ever, all I wanna do is honor her ... Show how much she accomplished in only 22 years....she's beautiful inside and there will never be another Aaliyah, I just hope to share her beautiful story, and make her proud up in heaven #babygirl #forever #OneInAMillion."

Would you like to see a movie about Aaliyah on the big screen?


Image via Zendaya/Instagram



To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

nonmember avatar Foster

How can you make a movie about someone without talking to the family? That's just beyond disrespectful. I'd love to see the movie made,but only with the families approval and involvement

nonmember avatar Jwow

Maybe they should cast Lil Mama, and don't leave out the part when RKelly used to piss on her at 16. Z and Elliot hit that too...

nonmember avatar me

im sorry, but theres a huge differnce between aaliyah and tina turner. maybe she could have turned her career into something like hers but we'll never know. she was a talented kid who had a few hits and then tragically died. fir the family to demand a major movie studio release just seems money hungry. im sorry, i liked her and might watch a tv movie about her but i, and i doubt enough people that would make it profitable, wouldnt pay to go see it in a theatre.

abra819 abra819

Agree 100% with "me". Aaliya was no where near tina turner.

nonmember avatar Lovely

Her family is just upset that they're not going to make the big bucks off of this film. That's all it is. I'm sure Zendaya would have attracted a younger, broader audience. Their loss. And I completely agree. I wouldn't pay to see this movie either. Lifetime was doing them a favor.

Melissa Larbig

I really do not think Zendaya was a good pick for her. Doesn't look like her AT ALL. They should do what her family wants, I'm sure someone will make a big screen movie for her, everyone loved her. If they didn't like her music, they loved her personality

1-6 of 6 comments