With the news last week that 19-year old Zendaya Coleman would not be playing Aaliyah in the planned Lifetime biopic about the late singer, fans immediately began speculating that she’d pulled out of the role due to criticism over a biracial girl playing the African American star who died in 2001. But Zendaya’s father and bodyguard, Kazembe Ajamu, posted on Twitter that the criticism did not affect her decision at all.
“Let me be perfectly clear!! Zendaya did not drop out of the movie because of haters and people who said she wasn’t black enough,’ Ajamu tweeted.
“In fact they only fueled her fire to kill this role,” he continued. “However the production value was very important to her — it had to be done right. Issues around production are what caused Zendaya to pull out of this project.”
There has been speculation that the film is being made on a shoestring budget — not hard to believe considering it’s going to be a basic-cable production — and that is what turned off Zendaya.
Zendaya herself had tweeted earlier that “…if she is going to do it, she wants to do it right.” Lifetime had also confirmed that the starlet had dropped out of the role.
“We are sad Zendaya will no longer portray Aaliyah,” Lifetime said via statement. “Production is currently on hold.”