Lifetime’s “Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B” has been controversial since its inception, with the family of the late singer coming out in disapproval for the film. However, since the film aired Saturday night, the Internet has been abuzz with criticism for the TV movie, including Timbaland, who worked extensively with Aaliyah and is portrayed in the film.
The producer took to Instagram to air his grievances, saying in one video, “This is why people should never remake movies. Bulls–t happens. Now you have to deal with the consequences.”
Timbaland continued to put up posts throughout the night criticizing the film, and fans of Aaliyah, who died at 22 in 2001, also took to Twitter to blast both the movie and Lifetime’s Twitter, which was live-tweeting as the film aired.
Please Google Aaliyah's song titles before posting. Thanks from a real fan. RT @lifetimetv RT if you love “Let Me Know”! #AaliyahMovie
— Sowmya Krishnamurthy (@SowmyaK) November 16, 2014
Many have accused the network of romanticizing the relationship between R. Kelly and Aaliyah, who illegally married when Aaliyah was 15 and Kelly was 27.
“Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B” garnered significant pushback long before it hit the air. Her family was vocally opposed to the project and, as the family owns the rights to Aaliyah’s music, none of it appeared in the biopic.
Casting also created a stir. Disney Channel star Zendaya Coleman was originally cast as Aaliyah, but dropped out in June, later saying that she didn’t “morally okay moving forward with the project” after she was unable to get in touch with late singer’s family. Alexandra Shipp would go on to star as Aaliyah.
Executive producers Howard Braunstein and Debra Martin Chase told the Washington Post they tried to keep the movie tasteful, defending their choice to move forward despite the controversy and without the music of the biopic’s subject.
“Biopics are hard,” Chase admitted. “People have an opinion and social media allows them to voice that opinion. But at the end of the day, our goal was to make the best movie possible.”
Lifetime has not yet responded to request for comment.