Just on the heels of announcing its Whitney Houston biopic, the network announced that Disney Channel star Zendaya Coleman will star as Aaliyah Haughton in the original movie “Aaliyah: Princess of R&B.” The film will chronicle the late star’s rise to fame and tragic death at 22 in 2001. For those wondering who the heck is Zendaya, the 17-year-old starred on Disney’s “Shake It Up” (see what you learn when you date a guy with kids?) and on “Dancing with the Stars” last year. The film, based on journalist Christopher Farley’s bestselling book “Aaliyah: More Than a Woman,” will be filmed this summer and premiere this fall, according to a Lifetime press release. “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,” the release continues.
An Aaliyah made-for-TV biopic. Hmm… I think Aaliyah probably has an amazing story, I mean, at 15 she married R. Kelly and was really a child star, so you know she saw some things. But will this movie have depth or will it will be a sappy bore (mind you, I didn’t read Christopher’s biopic)? I’m not saying you have to air any dirty laundry, I just want it to be a compelling and accurate portrayal of her life. I mean she dated Damon Dash and rumored to have also dated Jay Z. Again, not looking for anything trashy. Not at all. I just want to watch a good story and walk away feeling like, “Dang, I didn’t know that.” Aaliyah is of my generation and as far as ’90s R&B teen solo artists go, it was basically her, Brandy and Monica (Beyonce, though a contemporary, gained prominence following Aaliyah’s death). While my friends and I were grappling trig homework and reading about Inanna and Dumuzi, these chicks were touring the world. So, again, I know Aaliyah has seen some things and in her 22 years on this planet. She’s lived quite a life. I hope that’s communicated on screen.
And yes, I think Zendaya will do well. She’s a triple-threat–singer, dancer and actress–like Aaliyah, also starring in the upcoming Disney Channel Original Series “K.C. Undercover” and the Disney Channel Original Movie, “Zapped,” which premieres this summer, the release states. Plus, she has lots of personality and is physically built similarly to Aaliyah. Add a little bronzer and I think she’ll be good to go (Aaliyah had a deeper hue). I like this casting just like I’m all good with YaYa DaCosta-Alafia playing Nippy, Don Cheadle playing Miles Davis and from what I’ve seen of brief previews, Chadwick Boseman playing James Brown in the biopic “Get on Up” (Speaking of Chadwick,XFINITY CelebrateBlackTV.com will interview him and other stars from “Get on Up” this weekend at the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) in New York City. Stayed tuned for exclusive coverage and look for the hashtag #XFINITYatABFF.).
Since I spoke of both Aaliyah and Beyonce, check out this video of Beyonce interviewing Aaliyah on the red carpet at the 2000 MTV Music Awards. I like this video for a several reasons but mostly because Beyonce seems very genuine, relaxed and fun. It’s nice to see them together, youthful and having fun. Another video I invite you to check out below is of Aaliyah in her last movie, “Queen of the Damned.” Yeah, girlfriend was on her way …
Beyonce Interviews Aaliyah
Aaliyah in “Queen of the Damned”
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.