It’s a wrap! Disney star Zendaya Coleman officially drops out of Lifetime TV’s upcoming “Aaliyah” biopic after the Haughton family put their foot down in protest against the proposed made-for-TV movie.
TMZ reports that Coleman is no longer involved with the project and sources close to the production say many factors including the negative reaction from Aaliyah’s family played a major role in Coleman exit.
Last week, Aaliyah’s uncle and former manager, Barry Hankerson, released a statement on behalf of Aaliyah’s family, pleading with fans to bombard Lifetime with calls and email to cease production of the film as they believed the late R&B singer deserved a big screen debut.
“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 OK! 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.”
So far, there has been no word as to whether or not Lifetime will fill the role or throw in the towel altogether. Until then, the network has decided to cease production – ruthie hawkins/@ruubabie