Despite all the obstacles and controversies, the Aaliyah biopic “Aaliyah: Princess of R&B” will finally air on Lifetime on November 15.
Getting here was not easy. When Lifetime announced the project over the summer there was criticism from both the singer’s fans and family.
Fans protested the network’s initial selection of Disney star Zendaya Coleman to play the singer and even created online petitions.
Nickelodeon star Alexandra Shipp replaced Zendaya after she left the project citing “production issues, including problems obtaining the rights to Aaliyah’s music.”
The family wasn’t-and still isn’t-having it either. Aaliyah’s cousin and president of her label Blackground Records Jomo Hankerson spoke out against the film, telling the New York Daily News that, “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.”
When Wendy Williams jumped on to become executive producer back in July, there was controversy as well. But Williams said “You can count on us to get this movie right. I want to know the things you wanna know. What happened with R. Kelly, what was going on with Dame Dash, what was Aaliyah’s personal life really like?”
The movie will cover almost every aspect of the singer’s life, from her rise from Star Search to her tragic death in a 2001 plane crash.