Zendaya Coleman says she dropped out of the Aaliyah movie, and it is not because of the hate that she received across the board, particularly from the African-American community. Zendaya Coleman had been chosen to play Aaliyah in the biopic based on her life, Aaliyah: Princess of R&B. Aaliyah was the 1990s R&B singer who died tragically in a plane crash, according to the New York Daily News.
In her own words, Zendaya Coleman discusses why she chose not to do the role. It “had nothing to do with the haters or people telling me that I couldn’t do it, I wasn’t talented enough, or I wasn’t black enough. It had absolutely nothing to do with that. 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,” Entertainment Tonight reported.
What should have been a happy moment for former Disney star Zendaya Coleman turned out to be a nightmare. Almost immediately, African-American based forums and Facebook pages vehemently rejected the star, because she was biracial — not black enough to play the role of the beloved icon. Some say that it had nothing to do with the fact that Zendaya was biracial, but that she lacked maturity to play the role. Other say that black actresses, who are already struggling for roles in Hollywood, should have been given the opportunity first.
Various social media pages were flooded with discussions about why Zendaya was chosen for the role: “I didn’t have a problem with her playing Aaliyah due to her looks… but I felt like she wouldn’t have done the role justice,” said one Aaliyah fan.
Another fan seemed happy that Zendaya was out. “Thank ya JESUS!” the poster stated.
Fans of another actress who looked more like Aaliyah made it their business to post on every single post and forum about why that actress should have been chosen and not Zendaya Coleman. “Now tell me she doesn’t look like aaliyah,” the person writes with an accompanying photo attached.
Many were disgusted by the way this young girl was singled out. The backlash became so fierce that Zendaya Coleman‘s father decided to step up and speak out.
This sort of backlash was also seen when it was announced that Jennifer Lopez would play the role of Selena. The Puerto Rican actress received a tongue lashing from the Mexican American community over her role, but Lopez didn’t back down. Looking back now, no one else could have played the role of Selena better. Zendaya would have been fine.
In the end, Zendaya Coleman showed no hard feelings. She congratulated Alexandra Shipp, who has been chosen to play in the Lifetime movie, instead. Aaliyah: Princess of R&B is set to air during the fall season.