The Lifetime Network continues on with the Aaliyah biopic, Aaliyah: Princess of R&B , with Shipp as Aaliyah. The official air date is November 15, 2014. Lifetime had originally planned to shoot over the summer and release this fall, until Disney star Zendaya Coleman backed out of the project citing poor production values and moral discord.
Lifetime tweets that Zendaya will no longer play the role and that the film will be shelved for now. Aaliyah’s family, who are not participating in the project, were reportedly not happy with the decision to cast her.
We are sad Zendaya will no longer portray Aaliyah. Production is currently on hold.
— LifetimePR (@LifetimeTV_PR) June 29, 2014
Let me just explain something. The reason why I chose not to do the Aaliyah movie had nothing to do with the haters or the people telling me I couldn’t do it, I wasn’t talented enough, or I wasn’t black enough. The main reasons were the production value wasn’t there, there were complications with the music rights, and I just felt like it wasn’t being handled delicately considering the situation. And I tried my best to reach out to the family on my own, and I wrote a letter, but I was unable to do so therefore I felt not morally OK with moving forward with the project.
Because it’s someone that I honor and I respect so much, it has to be 128 percent, especially for all her fans, including myself. I didn’t feel like it [the production] was all the way there, so I didn’t want to do that. And when the time comes when it’s done right and it’s 100 percent, by all means, I will be the first person there ready to go.