After a number of production and casting issues, Aaliyah’s upcoming Lifetime biopic is complete and ready to air. It’s an unsettling feeling to know that a film dedicated to one of R&B’s most beloved singers was filmed without the use of her music or approval from her family.
Alexandra Shipp, who will play the singer, sat down with Entertainment Tonight to chat about all the controversy surrounding the project, but it’s still not enough to convince SheKnows that this is the proper way to honor Baby Girl. Take a look at a few reasons why Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B has us concerned.
1. Aaliyah’s music won’t be used in the film
2. We can’t seem to shake off Zendaya
We were a little hesitant about how Lifetime was going to handle the film back when Zendaya was originally cast as Aaliyah, but at least she exudes everything that fans loved about Baby Girl. Just take a look at the video for the singer’s hit “Replay.” It screams Aaliyah and was released almost a year before talks of this project.
3. Fact vs. fiction
The actual plot of Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B is concerning because the film is based on the Christopher Farley book, Aaliyah: More Than a Woman, which doesn’t include memories or anecdotes from the singer’s circle of family and friends. Shipp told ET that the film will include the singer’s hush-hush marriage to R. Kelly. “She had to have loved him because Aaliyah don’t play. She never does, so she went hard for that love,” she explained.
4. Aaliyah’s story deserves to be told on the big screen
Much like other biopics, Aaliyah’s holds a very special place in the music industry, especially for those fans of the late ’90s R&B boom. One of the biggest complaints among them is that this story needs to be told on the big screen as opposed to a watered-down Lifetime film. Wendy Williams responded to the criticism, saying, “Lifetime will play the movie over and over. TV is the way to get your story told.”
While Shipp has her share of credentials, including various TV shows like Victorious and Switched at Birth, there really is only one way to find out whether Aaliyah’s legacy will be honored properly when the film airs on Nov. 15 at 8/7c.