Zendaya Leaves Lifetime’s Aaliyah Biopic

Zendaya Aaliyah Biopic: Star Drops Out
Andrew Toth/Getty

Production on Lifetime’s Aaliyah biopic entitled “Aaliyah: Princess of R&B” has been put on hold after its star, Disney Channel singer and actress Zendaya Coleman (better known as simply Zendaya), has left the pic.

Lifetime announced the news through its PR Twitter account on Sunday.

The project was announced just earlier this month, with Zendaya set to star as the late R&B singer. It was slated to begin production in the summer to premiere in the fall.

SEE ALSO: Zendaya on Exiting Aaliyah Biopic: ‘The Project Wasn’t All the Way There’

Along with portraying the star, Zendaya was going to record four songs for the movie, based on book “Aaliyah: Princess of R&B” by former Time Magazine music editor Christopher Farley.

The project had garnered significant pushback from fans and family of Aaliyah in the past couple of weeks. Jomo Hankerson, Aaliyah’s cousin and president of her label Blackground Records, told the New York Daily News that they wanted a bigger release than what Lifetime could provide.

“We want a major studio release along the lines of ‘What’s Love Got to Do with It,’ the Tina Turner movie,” Hankerson said. “This needs A-list actors, A-list talent that can breathe life into what we think is a phenomenal story.”

Hankerson added that Zendaya’s casting had nothing to do with the family’s problems with the movie: “It’s never been about the actress. The problem that we have is that Aaliyah was an icon and she deserves an iconic tribute, not a Lifetime movie.”

With the pause in production, it’s unclear on where the premiere date will land for the telepic now.

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  1. Kennedy says:

    Man, as much as I think that lil girl Zendaya is talented, I’m in agreement that she just wasn’t right for the role. The first thing fans look for is physical embodiment, and for me Zendaya looks so far from Aaliyah that despite any performance she pulled off, Zendaya’s look would’ve been distracting to me. You wouldn’t want Jessica Alba playing a biopic on Gywenth Paltrow. They’re both white but it just won’t seem authentic enough. I think the issue about Zendaya’s skin color was less about her being mixed and more about society’s frustration with the lack of representation of dark-skinned actresses. I wasn’t part of the casting crew, but I can sympathize with people who would question if they really couldn’t find a hungry, beautiful darker-skinned actress ready to destroy that role. No hate on Zendaya. I love the chick but I don’t love her for this role.

  2. Tiffany says:

    I wouldn’t call her an ICON! She was famous for about 7 years until her tragic death at 22. She may have well been on her way to “icon status”, but she was just getting started! JUST like Zendaya! They will regret letting her go one day when she does become an icon! Beyonce is an icon. Michael Jackson is an icon. Aaliyah = fresh new artist gone too soon.

  3. Jarred says:

    Hey I have a question I just found out about this, I was to young to really know Aaliyahs career but How is R. Kelly not in jail they had a relationship he was like 27 and she was 15..He was a mentor so clearly he took advantage and we all know the dude is kinda sick in the bedroom..Anyone??? if this was a teacher and student he would be in jail getting beat down…if I walk into a store and walk out with some clothes I am going to jail but this dude can fondle minors??? Shame on you America

  4. Loni says:

    I think she would have done an excellent job. She is very talented, much like Aaliyah was in her time. I respect the family’s opinion, but a lot of people watch Lifetime. Probably more than would show up at the theater.

  5. preetybird says:

    She probably left because she heard the family was against it. Good on her. I think she’s well on her way to becoming a big star:)

  6. You never heard of Aaliyah?!?!?! You don’t like R&B Music?

  7. jeanice hays says:

    She is an ICON? I have never heard of her.

    • Phelogeny says:

      ICON??? Really, in what world is that? Lifetime is all that her story deserves.

    • Randy Easley says:

      I’ve heard of her but I didn’t think she was that big of a deal…not as iconic as Tina Turner.

    • scrapper94 says:

      This girl should play Aaliyah:

    • Emma Gellar says:

      Most likely because you were born in the 21st century and have no knowledge of anything before your time.

      • I was born on 2000 and know a lot about Aaliyah.
        I don’t get why people say people who were born in the 21st century barely knew what happened in the 20th century it doesn’t matter. Everyone is different and I know a lot about the 90’s and know who Tupac is, Biggie Smalls, Selena and Lisa Lopez etc. And know how they died don’t be stereotype. I don’t mean to sound rude but I’m just saying.

      • Robert Freemantle says:

        EMMA GELLAR, FTW!!!

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