I haven’t written about the Lifetime Aaliyah movie until now because I had to take some time to digest the news before diving in. Aaliyah remains in my mind as an R&B princess whose death still feels like a dream. I admired her for her voice, fierce fashion sense, chill demeanor, and dance moves. “Rock the Boat”? “One in A Million?” “Are You That Somebody?” “If Your Girl Only Knew?” CLASSIC JAMS! I also maintain that her star was just becoming brighter, especially in films. It was exciting watching her perform on stage and in music videos and on screen.
Hearing about the news of a Lifetime biopic based on Aaliyah left me thinking about how I wish it could be released on the big screen. Look, I LOVE Lifetime. It’s the only network smart enough to capitalize on V.C. Andrews'”Flowers in the Attic” literary series while remaining loyal to an audience that can’t get enough of original movies based around difficult topics such as eating disorders, bullying, and infidelity. I’m a Lifetime girl for life (no pun intended).
So while my gripe about Lifetime’s decision to produce a movie based on Aaliyah’s short, yet impressive life had nothing to do with Zendaya being cast as the lead role, now she has officially dropped out of the movie. A part of me is sad because I would have loved to see how Zendaya would have portrayed the late megastar. But the other side of me thinks that Zendaya made a very educated decision. With the Aaliyah fan outrage and family members who would rather see Aaliyah’s story in movie theaters around the world, there is just too much drama when it seems clear that Zendaya just wants to do right by Aaliyah’s legacy and image. Zendaya might not have wanted to attach herself to a project that is meeting a boatload of animosity in its pre-production stages.
For now, production is on hold, so either a new star will be born/reborn if the role is recast OR Aaliyah’s life on the small screen will never be realized. I, for one, am staying tuned.