Summer blockbuster’s may be filling movie theaters but no other film is more talked about right now than Lifetime’s upcoming “Aaliyah” biopic, which has gained controversy over both Zendaya Coleman’s casting as Aaliyah and the Haughton family’s disapproval of the film. Recently, Aaliyah’s cousin, Jomo Hankerson came forward and spoke to fans about why the family is so furious about Lifetime immortalizing their lost baby girl.
According to TheJasmineBrand.com, Hankerson, who was the president of her label, Blackground Records, addressed the matter yesterday on ‘The Ryan Cameron Morning Show,” and he explained that a biopic on Lifetime just doesn’t do Aaliyah’s legacy any justice.
“We feel like [television’s] really not the right platform. Aaliyah was a legend. She was a hugely influential artist on our culture … I think that she deserves the treatment of a Walk the Line (about Johnny Cash) or a What’s Love Got To Do With It? (about Tina Turner) … A big, major movie,” Hankerson explained.
Besides the film itself, Hankerson was also asked about Aaliyah’s marriage with R. Kelly. However, despite the fact that the marriage is common knowledge now, Hankerson made quite the effort to dodge any questions about it.
“Well, umm, I’ll let that come out in the movie. It won’t be in this movie, but it will come out one day… It’s not my place or the forum for me to really get into that; that’s why I just back off that,” he said.
He did however vaguely acknowledge that their relationship was controversial.
“It was at the time, it was [when] she was huge. He was huge … It was a lot of things going on like that … I think it was just indicative of the times. When you hear that first album it was obviously a lot of creative chemistry,” he said.
Though he wanted to stay mum on the marriage controversy, Hankerson did freely discuss the backlash of it and explained that Aaliyah was blackballed in the industry after her illegal marriage to R. Kelly was annulled.
“Aaliyah got ‘villainized’ — that’s the part that I never understood and that’s what made the transition to the second album difficult. It was hard for us to get producers,” Hankerson said. “That’s what it felt like … She was 16, 17 at the time … I just didn’t understand why they were upset with baby girl.”
Hankerson also addressed the controversial casting of Coleman for Aaliyah and he agreed with many fans that she’s not the right choice. In Hankerson’s eyes, the woman who could best play Aaliyah would be rising actress Zoe Saldana.
Although Saldana is quite beautiful and is a trained dancer, she might not be up for doing anymore biopics after enduring all of the criticism she has over her role in the upcoming Nina Simone biopic. – nicholas robinson