Ever since they announced that Zendaya would be playing Aaliyah in the upcoming Lifetime biopic, people have been losing their minds. Unfortunately, it wasn't entirely in the good way. The backlash against the former Disney star playing the iconic '90s legend has been so pervasive that Zendaya herself tweeted asking the fans to give her a chance to honor one of her idols, a message that hopefully made her critics realize that, if nothing else, she is taking this role completely seriously. However, perhaps the most important opinion to consider is that of Aaliyah's family. On Tuesday, Aaliyah's family tweeted their response to the controversy and, in doing so, launched a completely different one.
From the very beginning of the series of tweets, it's clear that her family don't approve of the Lifetime biopic. However, Zendaya's casting has absolutely nothing to do with that. Aaliyah's family disapproves of the Lifetime biopic because it is being made without their approval or involvement. In fact, the family was as supportive of Zendaya as they could be under the circumstances, asking fans to be "respectful to the artist playing the role, for they may not fully have or know the details about this role."
This came after Zendaya's own Twitter speech, in which she said, "She's been an inspiration and influence in my whole career, her talent still shines brighter then ever, all I wanna do is honor her. Show how much she accomplished in only 22 years....she's beautiful inside and there will never be another Aaliyah, I just hope to share her. beautiful story, and make her proud up in heaven #babygirl #forever #OneInAMillion. I'm just a 17 year old girl who got cast to play one of her biggest inspirations #positive."
Ironically, Zendaya later retweeted the messages sent out by Aaliyah's family, but only the second two that asked for the fans to give her a chance. It appears that now that Zendaya is aware that the family isn't behind the project, she still remains committed to doing it and probably aspires to make the fans and the family proud with her performance. After all, it's not as though she can just back out now when it seems for all intents and purposes that this is a dream of hers.
However, according to TMZ, Aaliyah's family intends to shut this project down. Reportedly, Aaliyah's uncle, Barry Hankerson, says that the family is angry that no one contacted them about the biopic and they've hired a lawyer to block Lifetime from using any of Aaliyah's music and, if possible, block production of the film at all. There's also speculation that the family doesn't believe a TV movie would do Aaliyah's memory justice.
While parts of that do sound plausible, especially in light of the family's tweets, it seems a little much to claim that they're pushing for a theater release of an Aaliyah movie. The family only seems to want to have involvement in the movie to make sure it truly does honor Aaliyah's legacy as much as possible. That's not only fair, it's to be expected. Hopefully, Lifetime will hear their concerns and work with them to greenlight the project. And, even more so, hopefully the fans will just give Zendaya a chance.