It’s official! The Lifetime movie you’ve been dreading, or anticipating, is finally on its way! Lifetime’s Aaliyah: Princess of R&B, about the late singer that perished in a freak plane accident, finally has a release date.
According to The Los Angeles Times, the Lifetime movie is expected to air on November 15. Odds are the Aaliyah film would have come out sooner, but things have been difficult on the production end.
Like most Lifetime biopics these days, the behind the scenes of the film had its own set of problems. First, Disney actress Zendaya Coleman was set to play Aaliyah in the film that would cover the singer’s rise to fame and her tragic ending.
Then amid controversy Coleman backed out of the project and actress Alexandra Shipp, someone who resembles Aaliyah more than Coleman, was cast at the last minute. At the time, Coleman said that she didn’t back out of the Lifetime biopic because of the backlash she received about her skin color and age.
“The main reasons were that the 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. And I tried my best to reach out to the family on my own, and I wrote a letter, but I was unable to do so; therefore, I felt not really morally okay with moving forward with the project.”
Now, the production is in the hands of talk show host Wendy Williams. Wendy is all about truth-telling, so it’s not a shock that this project will also feature Aaliyah’s very controversial marriage to R. Kelly as well.
According to writer Christopher John Farley, “Aaliyah’s personal and professional relationship with R. Kelly will be explored with care in the film as we set out to depict her life with the utmost respect.”
It is believed that Aaliyah was in an illegal marriage with R. Kelly. A marriage license materialized from 1994 that listed a 15-year-old Aaliyah as 18 when she married R. Kelly. At the time of their marriage Kelly was 26-years-old, which meant Aaliyah had to lie about her age to marry the singer.
In 1997 Aaliyah filed to have all records of their marriage expunged, because she was not old enough to wed Kelly. When rumors first started to swirl about her marriage, Aaliyah denied the claims.
As expected, Aaliyah’s family is vehemently against the Lifetime film. The estate has threatened to sue Lifetime from using the star’s music, in addition to the release of the film. We’ll see how this one pans out.
[Image via Lifetime]