Aaliyah Lifetime Movie Ripped On Social Media, Alexandra Shipp Defends Role
Aaliyah: Princess of R&B, the controversial Lifetime movie, premiered on Saturday night, getting ripped by both critics and fans alike.
As Gossip Cop reported, the project was under fire almost as soon as it was announced earlier this year. Zendaya was originally cast in the title role, much to the chagrin of fans, but then dropped out, later saying that she was not “morally OK” moving forward with it, explaining, “production value wasn’t there, there were complications with the music rights, and I just felt like it wasn’t being handled delicately considering the situation.” She was replaced by Alexandra Shipp, and filming commenced, despite protestations from the late singer’s family, who refused to authorize the film.
The messy start helped fuel curiosity, as fans continued to fear the final product would do more to harm Aaliyah’s memory than honor it. Those concerns were seemingly confirmed when reviews started coming over the last few days. The Hollywood Reporter said the biopic “fails to capture the magic of why her legacy is still burning bright,” and The Wrap wrote, “Despite a handful of great performances, this small-screen drama is a forgettable, overly publicized splash in the pan unworthy of the woman it earnestly but clumsily attempts to honor. What a shame.”
The New York Times declared, “There may be another way, at some point, to celebrate Aaliyah in film, but ham-handed, underwhelming efforts like this don’t help. Instead of a worthy tribute, this film isn’t much more than an on-screen reflection of behind-the-scenes warring, and a case study in when to cut losses.” And Deadline said, “This is a soulless, aimless look at the life of the singer.”
Those negative comments, however, paled in comparison to the firestorm that erupted during the broadcast on Saturday night. Angry fans took to Twitter while watching to call out casting issues, music choices, and alleged biographical errors. At one point, “#LifetimeDisrespectsAaliyah” was even trending, as well as “#LifetimeBeLike,” a hashtag that was still going strong Sunday morning.
Shipp, though, seemed undaunted by the massive backlash. Rather than directly addressing the haters, she defended her participation by retweeting dozens of positive comments, such as “@AlexShipppp is doing a good job w/ her portrayal of #Aaliyah based off of the material she was given. #AaliyahMovie” and “@AlexShipppp all the negative comments about the movie isn’t needed. It’s pretty good #Aaliyah #AaliyahMovie #AaliyahPrincessOfRnB.” Another read, “@AlexShipppp No matter what anyone says, you did a great job. You took on an impossible project.”
The movie was executive produced by Wendy Williams. The talk show host promoted the project on her Twitter feed, but has yet to respond to the criticism. What do you think of the controversy?