Tuesday, June 17, 2014


***UPDATE*** scroll down to the bottom

The 17-year-old Disney Channel's star, Zendaya Coleman has been cast to portray the late, great singer and actress, Aaliyah Dana Haughton.

For many years --heck a decade, rumors have been swirling that Aaliyah's life would be made into a movie, but the rumors have been just that, until recently.

Aaliyah: Princess of R&B is the tentative title for the upcoming Lifetime Original Movie. 

The television film will be based off the bestselling novel,  Aaliyah: More Than a Woman written by former Time Magazine music editor Christopher Farley. The film will begin filming this Summer and premiere in the Fall.

Read Lifetime's Aaliyah: Princess of R&B synopsis below.
Before Beyonce and before Rihanna, self-proclaimed “street but sweet” Aaliyah was poised to become a global icon with top-selling albums, a hot movie career and an adoring fan base. But behind the spotlight, Brooklyn-born, Detroit-raised Aaliyah Dana Haughton struggled to succeed in a tough business while staying grounded in the midst of her growing celebrity. The film follows the beautiful and talented performer’s inspirational journey, from her debut on "Star Search" at the age of ten to the challenges she faced during her rise to become the Princess of R&B. On August 25, 2001, at the height of her popularity, her life was tragically cut short when a plane carrying the singer and some of her video crew crashed after takeoff from a Bahamian runway. Although just 22-years-old at the time of her death, Aaliyah continues to lead a legacy as Billboard’s tenth most famous R&B artist of the past 25 years and one of the recording industry’s most successful artists in history. 

To be honest I really do not know much about Zendaya other than she: has an impeccable sense of style--

If she keeps killin' me softly with her fashions the way she's been doing over the past year, I may have to add her to my list; is Disney Channel affiliated; and is a former contestant of Dancing with the Stars.

So being the responsible occasional blogger that I begrudgingly attempt to be, I did some digging and discovered some cool facts about Zendaya.

Who Is Zendaya?
1. Zendaya name derives from the word meaning "to give thanks" in Shona, a Bantu language native to the Shona people of Zimbabwe in Africa.

2. She's what E-40 would call a Yay Area native. 

 Zendaya was born and raised in Oakland, California before moving to Los Angeles to pursue her professional entertainment career.

3. She's a triple threat --dancer, actress and singer. 

Zendaya grew up as a part of the nearby California Shakespeare Theater in Orinda and trained at the theater's student conservatory program. She also spent three years as a dancer for the Future Shock Oakland dance company.

4. She's a clothing designer. 

In 2013 Zendaya started work on a clothing line inspired by her Disney Channel's character Rocky Blue in Shake It UpThe Shake It Up Dance Clothing Line by Zendaya features legwarmers, shorts, jackets, headbands and athletic apparel and accessories.

5. In March 2013, Zendaya became the youngest contestant on the 16th  season of ABC's Dancing with the Stars. She ended the season as 1st runner-up. 

6. She's a platinum selling artist.

Zendaya's lead single Replay off her debut album Zendaya, was certified platinum by the R.I.A.A. on January 30, 2014.

Ok, I feel a little better now about the news that Zendaya will be portraying Aaliyah. 

*crosses fingers* Let's hope Lifetime's production and writing team, the director, Zendaya and the rest of the cast and crew in this television film does Aaliyah's life story justice...she deserves it! 

Aaliyah's cousin and president of her label, Blackground Records, Jomo Hankerson (son of former Blackground Records president, Barry Hankerson), released a statement through the family’s public relations representatives:
“Aaliyah was more than a singer, she was --and is still – an American music icon whose legacy continues to live on and influence today’s music culture, just as Ray Charles, Notorious B.I.G., Selena and Johnny Cash.  Considering the magnitude of her fans’ affection alone, she deserves to have a tribute much more grand than a television network debut that won’t even consider the perspectives of those who were closest to Aaliyah. Disregarding the families and dishonoring the legacies of celebrated figures who have passed on, big networks want to exploit their stories for a buck.  We’re here to make it clear that it’s not okay!  Lifetime Television is trying to dictate the status of our heroes, our heroines and – in this case – our beloved Aaliyah. We implore everyone to call Lifetime Television, send emails and bombard social media so they know we demand respect for our cultural icons. We will not sit idly by while they misrepresent and reap profits from our luminaries. There is more at stake than the public could imagine.”

I wholeheartedly agree with Aaliyah's family!

This Lifetime Aaliyah biopic loses credibility out of the gate. How can you accurately set out to do a biopic on Aaliyah and her family not be involved --especially knowing Aaliyah came from such a close-knit family.

In the statement released by Aaliyah's family, they urge her fans to protest the upcoming Lifetime biopic by any means necessary. Last weeks announcement of the Lifetime biopic obviously rubbed some Aaliyah fans the wrong way as well because they started a petition to stop the biopic prior to Aaliyah's family releasing their statement. 

Zendaya, girl, if I were you I would pull out of this Aaliyah project because without the support of Aaliyah's family and fans, no matter how good of a job you do in this role, this biopic will not be received well and could hurt your brand in the long run.

Sidebar: Did you catch the shade that Aaliyah's family threw at Lifetime's upcoming Whitney Houston biopic (Angela Bassett is set to make her directorial debut)?! 

*Fantasia voice* I love it, I LOVE it!

***UPDATE #2***

I guess Zendaya listened because her rep recently announced that she will no longer be portraying Aaliyah in the upcoming unauthorized Lifetime biopic.
A source told E! News that there were production issues, including problems obtaining the rights to Aaliyah's music. 
"Aaliyah has always been an inspiration to Zendaya," the source said. "She was honored to portray her and pay tribute to her. If she is going to do it, she wants to do it right."
Rumor has it that the fact that Aaliyah's family did not support the project did not sit right with Zendaya and her people.

I'm glad she pulled out of this project because it seems like it will be bootleg than a motherf_cker.

Photos: FameFlynet Pictures, Bauer-Griffin, Getty Images North America,  FashionBombDaily.com and Zendaya’s Instagram

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