Three days ago, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Zendaya had been cast as Aaliyah in an upcoming biopic titled Aaliyah: Princess of R&B, based off Christopher Farley‘s best-selling biography Aaliyah: More Than a Woman.
As soon as the news hit social media, many fans took to Twitter (as usual) to express their displeasure against the move. Some stated Zendaya wasn’t fit enough to play Aaliyah. A petition was even launched online asking for the movie to stopped, claiming that the family of the late singer did notput their seal of approval on the movie. TMZ then went on to report that Aaliyah’s uncle and former manager Barry Hankerson told them the family is pissed because no one from Lifetime (the network were the film will air) as contacted them about the movie.
Still, a Twitter account in Barry’s name reveals that the family is in the know and that the biopic will be called One in a Million and will air on Lifetime and VH1???
Anyways, here is what I think
1. For an Aaliyah biopic to be made, at least someone in Aaliyah’s estate has to be in the know because her intellectual property CANNOT be used without permission. What I mean is, for a good Aaliyah biopic to be made her songs have to be used alongside clips from her past interviews plus her music videos. Aaliyah’s family is VERY involved with her intellectual property and anyone who wants to use those materials will have to go through them. However, if there are varying opinions on this I’d like to hear them
2. It is a biopic!!! No one will be good enough to play the actual person so people should take a chill pill. Personally, I feel Zendaya is an excellent choice. Zendaya can sing, dance and act. I am sure she’d do a good job as long as she has the right director and she does her homework.
3. People should understand that the studios/networks have the task of finding someone who can not just interpret the role but who can get people to actually watch. This reminds me of the criticism Zoe Saldaña is still facing for her role as Nina Simone in the Nina biopic.
I love Aaliyah and I understand that the fans want to keep her legacy but I think every needs to relax. Who says this the only Aaliyah biopic that will be made? (Close to 10 films about the life of Nelson Mandela have been made). Who says that this one will turn out poorly? We should not let the fear of what we do not understand throw us into baseless arguments and fighting unnecessary fights. Instead of looking at the glass half empty, we can look at it half full. Zendaya will introduce many young people (Her Disney Channel audience especially) to Aaliyah and the legacy she left for Contemporary R&B music at such a young age. Many will understand and be inspired by her life and music.
If after the movie comes out you still don’t love it; make some money, cast your ideal star and shoot your version. I’d still watch and do a review afterwards.
As long as the story lives on. We are good!