After much criticism, it seems as though Zendaya Coleman has thrown in the towel and will not portray Aaliyah in Liftime’s biopic. Lifetime Television said in a statement on Twitter, “We are sad Zendaya will no longer portray Aaliyah.  Production is currently on hold.”

According to E! News, a rep for the 17-year-old actress said that “Zendaya is no longer involved in the project.” Lifetime had announced her casting in the biopic on June 16.

A source told E! News that there were production issues, including problems obtaining the rights to Aaliyah’s music. Aaliyah’s family previously threatened a lawsuit against the network, and also said they would stop any attempts to use Aaliyah’s music. In a recent interview, Jomo Hankerson, Aaliyah’s

cousin and president of her record label Blackground Records, expressed the family’s displeasure with the movie.

“This Lifetime thing came out of the blue. We saw it when the press release was released when everybody else did. I think going forward, we will have that conversation because I think that, notwithstanding whatever they do, I know there’s going to be things that they don’t cover because they just don’t have the knowledge to cover it,” Hankerson said.

Now that the movie is without a star, it’ll be interesting to see if Lifetime will go through with it after all.

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  • Secret87

    Also I wish those who wish someone pale skinned to play Aaliyah stop saying poor little girl. She’s 17 years old!!!!
    There are kids younger then her who steal, kill their parents and know better.
    She was only thinking about herself and greed. Not even caring about the families wishes of someone they loved who passed away who is dead and can’t say no.

  • Junebug123

    good. since aaliyah was a light skin black women. get a light skin black women to play her

  • Junebug123

    a biracial girl is playing coretta scott king. yes Carmen ejogo and coretta are both light skin but coretta is a black women. im black south African and there is a difference between a light skin black person and biracial. Get a light skin black girl like Bianca Lawson to play coretta

    • nononsense57

      Junebug, Bianca Lawson is mixed. By your logic, that disqualifies her, too.

      The only people who can play Coretta Scott King is Coretta herself
      (RIP), a twin (she didn’t have one), or perhaps one of her daughters or
      relatives (?). The only person who can truly and adequately play Aaliyah is Aaliyah, as I mentioned before. Fantasia lucked out on her biopic
      because she was able to play herself.

      This is why casting decisions have to involve some artistic liberty. Otherwise trying to match the exact phenotype and genetic makeup when trying to cast someone is a near-impossible challenge. We as viewers and fans have to be creative in our thinking and should be open to how the actress portrays a character.

      For example, my issue with Zoe Saldana playing Nina Simone wasn’t the fact that she’s light-skinned when Nina was dark-skinned. It was that Zoe
      Saldana is a terrible actress who I feel couldn’t pull of Nina’s flyness
      and depth. But I believed Angela Bassett as Tina Turner, because Angela
      is an amazing actress and ultimately she nailed the role, even though
      (to me) she looks nothing like Tina. If Idris Elba wants to play James
      Bond, I say go for it, because he is also talented and embodies the
      suave and debonair qualities Bond is supposed to have.

    • eve-audrey

      But here’s the thing james bond has always been a white character and i am sure many white people would voice their displeasure with idris elba playing one of their beloved white male characters even if it is a fictional one.

      And you won’t go spouting this artistic freedom nonsense in their faces because they are NOT black women. Remember the backlash against him playing a nordic god in thor? That was nothing compared to idris playing james bond.
      You will have to admit that the only people on earth you can go after for wanting an accurate representation of themselves are black women.
      and you will have to let it go one day.

    • Junebug123

      Bianca Lawson has two black parents. she is part of the gordy family. like I said like skin blacks and biracials are DIFFERENT

  • lis

    I think ‘calling it out’ is a non Black person….so ignore it

  • Phoenix Ares

    Good. Initially I didn’t care she was picked but the more I thought about it/looked at her the more I had a change of mind. Lifetime can still do a movie. All they gotta’ to do is take the time to get someone who is closely like Alliyah was. Surely there are plenty of undiscovered Alliyah look-a likes out there. As long as audition lines are for tryouts like this you can’t tell me they cant find one.