Aaliyah Biopic Already in Trouble

Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

By: Amanda Anderson-Niles

Yesterday social media was on fire after it was confirmed Disney actress Zendaya would be playing Aaliyah in an upcoming biopic for Lifetime, and many have expressed they aren’t happy about the choice. But it appears the singer’s fans aren’t the only ones furious about what direction the biopic is heading, apparently Aaliyah’s family is vowing to do whatever possible to make sure the film never happens.

TMZ reports:

Aaliyah’s uncle and former manager, Barry Hankerson, tells us the family is pissed that no one from the network contacted them about the movie.

Hankerson says the family will block any attempt on Lifetime’s part to use any of Aaliyah’s music. He says the family has hired a lawyer and will do everything they can to block release of the flick.

The family is not opposed to a big, theatrical film, but thinks a TV movie is too small for someone as big as Aaliyah.



In related news, a lot of people are upset about Zendaya being cast as the singer because they feel she doesn’t look like Aaliyah. You be the judge:


  1. Aaliyah was a black woman…so why is this racially ambiguous actress playing her? So the assault on black women in Hollywood continues huh?

      1. Racially ambiguous. Aaliyah was a black woman. Is it too much to ask for a black woman to play her? Why are we ok with mixed women playing black women now?

    1. Believe it or not, a lot of whites think light skinned black people are all mixed/not really black. It’s ignorant but it is what it is.

    2. It’s called white washing. They are white washing Nina Simone too by having Zoe Saldana play her. It’s no coincidence that they are having a Latina play the role of a dark skinned black woman who actually loved her black features. They have an agenda.

  2. I don’t blame Aaliyah’s family for being upset. And no, I’m not happy with this actress getting the role. Sorry.

  3. How do you not consult with her family or even give them a heads up about the movie,this is very disrespectful. I’m definitely not feeling Zendaya as Aaliyah either. Light skin and long hair should not qualify as the perfect fit smh. My personal pick would be Lolita Price she looks so much like Aaliyah if she could get some good acting skills it would be amazing.

  4. Umm how are they going to get information about Aaliyah’s life without contacting her family? Now I know this movie will be trash.

  5. “The family is not opposed to a big, theatrical film, but thinks a TV movie is too small for someone as big as Aaliyah.” *side eye*

    1. Right. If a TV movie was good enough for TLC, why isn’t it good enough for Aaliyah when they were bigger than she was? Yes, Lifetime needs to involve the family but let’s not pretend Aaliyah is too big of a star for a TV movie.

  6. I hope this movie is scrapped. The first problem is putting it on Lifetime? Really? Then the actress…give me a damn break. If you’re going to do a Aaliyah biopic, do it right. Don’t half a-s it.

  7. I don’t this this will be scrapped. Lifetime has made plenty of movies about people without consulting their family members. It’s unethical but it isn’t illegal.

  8. I don’t want a biopic if they aren’t going to tell the whole story, even the dysfunctional parts of Aaliyah’s life like her underage marriage to that pedophile R Kelly.

  9. I’d like to be ok with her playing Aaliyah, if it weren’t for the fact that this type of thing only happens with Black films. I thought to myself, “well what’s the big deal if she can play the role well (i.e. dance, act, etc.)?” And then I tried to think back to a movie when a black person has ever played someone white or biracial…..which was difficult to do. So, I definitely see the issue here.

    With regard to her family. I wish they’d just initiate the project themselves and choose who they would like to produce this because there always seems to be an issue with what they approve or disappove of. Aaliyah was an awesome artist who definitely deserves her story and accomplishments told. So I hope there’s some resolution to this soon that doesn’t result in the project being scrubbed altogether.

  10. I think people just need to let Aaliyah rest in peace and allow her legacy to live on in her music because everything they try to put together for her (movies, etc.) end up being a hot mess and the family protests it. Just let her legacy be.

  11. Lifetime had to know that her family would block this movie from getting made and rightfully so. How in the world do you have a script and cast people and release that this girl will be remaking 4 of Aaliyah’s songs without getting any input or permission from her family who own the rights to her music? I was already disappointed in the choice of the actress they chose but this is a huge turn off for me. I honestly hope this movie isnt made by Lifetime bc it wont do her justice especially when you dont have the familys blessing and Im sideeying the Whitney movie Lifetime is set to make bc Whitney deserves way more than a tv movie…

  12. I don’t think she looks like her, but I’m definitely not feeling the fact that lifetime is making the movie without involving her family first. At least TLC was actually involved with their small screen movie. *yawns* I’ll pass.

  13. Actually I was a bit confused as to why they would have her play Aaliyah, but I googled more pics of this girl, she can pass, her hair isn’t naturally straight it has to be flat ironed, dye the hair black she can pass, don’t go off this pic google on your own

  14. and why the hell would such a company like lifetime would attempt to make a movie on someones life without asking for permission first?that was silly too

  15. This actress shouldn’t have taken the role if she knew the family wasn’t behind it. Especially since she claims to be such a big fan.

  16. OK here it goes: I love Aaliyah DOWN she was beautiful, sweet, genuine a trend setter and most of all extremely talented. Yes she was a HUGE star during her time however I do feel that people tend to exaggerate her stardom even further and place her on a even higher pedestal solely based on the way she passed and at such a young age. Realistically speaking, I don’t think her story should be made for the big screen. As “Get Busy” stated above if TLC’s story can be made for TV I don’t see why Aaliyah’s shouldn’t considering they were way more popular and successful than her. I think the real problem regarding TV is the Network. Lifetime really? I think her story would be more suitable for either Vh1, BET, or MTV. Lifetime is also suppose to be airing Whitney Houston’s biopic. I think that is a bad idea as well. Now Whitney’s story should be made for the big screen!

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