News spread like wildfire of confirmation that triple threat Zendaya Coleman would be playing Aaliyah in an upcoming Lifetime network biopic. The announcement was met with surprise and mostly negative responses from fans who disagree with the casting decision.
The angriest of Aaliyah fans have started an online petition to stop the making of the movie, the main reason to halt the production being to respect the family's wishes. Here’s the full petition:
“This petition is to stop the making of this Aaliyah biopic. It’s wrong that Aaliyah’s mother or brother didn’t have a say so in this movie that is being made. The fans didn’t get a say so and neither did any of Aaliyah’s friends. As her fans, we’re going to do anything in our power to stop this movie. Little do we know, this is hurting Mrs. Haughton and Rashad. They’re about to make something that didn’t even get approved from her family. That is beyond disrespectful. If you agree that this movie shouldn’t be made, you need to vote. If you really respect Aaliyah, you have to respect her mother and her brothers wishes. It’s only right. It was Aaliyah’s life. And they’re taking it too far now. We need to put a stop to this!”
However, their statement was met with a statement from the film’s casting director Twinkie Byrd, who defended her decision. She told TheYBF:
“Zendaya embodies everything you want in a actress to play Aaliyah. She is a Poised, Professional, STRONG Actress (studied at California Shakespeare Theater and American Conservatory Theater). A Triple Threat Actor, Singer Dancer. She LOVES AALIYAH and will do a Wonderful Job! She is of mixed ethnicity. Her name is Bantu (Zimbabwe) meaning “To Give Thanks”. Let’s not Hate on it but Congratulate! She is a GREAT CHOICE!”
(Side note: Byrd has cast films such as Fruitvale Station, Being Mary Jane, and The Gabby Douglas Story, and Black Nativity, so may she knows what she’s talking about!)
Zendaya even posted her thoughts on being chosen for the role:
“She’s been an inspiration and influence in my whole career, her talent still shines brighter then ever, all I wanna do is honor her”
“Show how much she accomplished in only 22 years….she’s beautiful inside and there will never be another Aaliyah, I just hope to share her”
“beautiful story, and make her proud up in heaven #babygirl#forever#OneInAMillion“
"I'm just a 17 year old girl who got cast to play one of her biggest inspirations #positive"
It’s true that in the past, the Haughton family have been very much so against the making of a movie about their daughter and sister, but who said they’re against it NOW? We haven’t heard of any official statements from them. One family member though, her uncle and former manager Barry Hankerson, has been pledging a movie singe December 2013 when he posted a mock-up advertisement for a VH1 film on his Twitter.
In terms of her looking like Aaliyah, the magic of movie makeup is astounding.The only gripe I have is the fact that Zendaya is reportedly going to sing four of Aaliyah's songs for the film, which in my opinion, breaks the realness of the character if the actor/actress doesn't sound like the true person. Can Zendaya bring the distinct sound of Aaliyah's soft vocals?
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