Recently, Lifetime announced its upcoming Aaliyah: Princess of R&B biopic, which will be based on the best-seller Aaliyah: More Than a Woman by former Time magazine music editor Christopher Farley. Along with announcing the upcoming movie, the network also announced that the lead role was going to Disney star Zendaya Coleman. Our reply? “Who the hell is that?”
Indeed, after a quick Google search we realized just how out of touch we were. Coleman is apparently a huge teen star, the singer/actress has starred in several original Disney Channel movies, she was a runner-up on Dancing With the Stars, and she has even released platinum selling singles. On top of it all, she has over 14 million followers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Where the hell have we been?!
Nevertheless when news broke that the 17-year-old star would be playing the iconic singer the reception was…mixed. Fans of Zendaya are obviously just happy to see her progress in any way. Hardcore fans of Aaliyah – who tragically passed away in 2001 – obviously aren’t the core demographic of somebody like Zendaya and thus, they are understandably apprehensive. Well today, we are going to go over some things that the latter group should be aware of. This isn’t defending her, or damning her. These are simply four things you should know about Zendaya Coleman.
4. She’s Well Aware Of The Criticism
Not everyone agreed that Coleman would make a good Aaliyah—not because she can’t sing or dance, because she’s already proved that she can do both, but because she’s too light. Recently TMZ caught up with Coleman as she was leaving an airport, and she had a few comments to say about the issues surrounding her complexion and ethnicity. She also brought up the fact that Angela Bassett portrayed Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do With It, and they looked nothing alike.
“Well, a lot of people say that I’m not black enough,” Coleman stated while introducing her father, Kazembe Ajamu, who’s black. “Half-black is just enough. It doesn’t matter what color you are; it’s how you portray the character.” We couldn’t agree more.
3. Her Biracial Ethnicity
As if you couldn’t tell from her light skin completion Zendaya is indeed multiracial. Her father, Kazembe Ajamu (Coleman), is African-American and her mother, Claire Stoermer, has German, Irish, and English ancestry. In other words, does it really matter that a mixed woman is playing Aaliyah? Or if she’s not exactly the same skin tone as Aaliyah? If you take a look at some of Aaliyah’s photos, it’s not as if Coleman’s and Aaliyah’s complexions are that different.
2. Aaliyah’s Family Doesn’t Necessarily Dislike Her
Ever since news broke out that Aaliyah’s story would get the Lifetime movie treatment, the singer’s family has been quite vocal about their disapproval. They feel she deserves more than a small-screen handling, which is a more than reasonable reaction. Though, with regards to Zendaya herself, a family member recently spoke with The Wrap: “I think she’s a lovely young girl,” he said. “I have a problem with the whole production, so casting would be a part of it. But I never wanted to single her out, because I think that she’s a good, young actress and that she’s just trying to take an opportunity that was presented to her.”
So if the movie turns out to be super lame, don’t blame Zendaya…at least not necessarily.
1. She’s Seemingly More Than Capable Of Portraying the Legendary Star
If you don’t agree with Zendaya’s casting, you have to ask yourself one question. Who else do you suggest (and please don’t say Teyana Taylor)? Zendaya and Aaliyah’s career’s and their overall swag aren’t really that different from one another. They both got into the music industry in their early teens, they both sold a lot of records, they both can dance their asses off, they both starred in movies, and quite frankly, you can tell that Zendaya was influenced by Aaliyah tremendously. Zendaya’s admiration for the fallen singer seems authentic enough. There is absolutely no reason to think that Zendaya can’t pull it off. We just want to know who’s going to be playing Dame Dash!
What do you think about the upcoming Lifetime Aaliyah biopic? Are you excited or is your decision that it’s going to be whack sauce already made up?