Following negative feedback from social media users and Aaliyah’s family backing out on the decease singer’s biopic, teen pop star Zendaya Coleman has confirmed her decision to turn down her lead role in the upcoming project.
A rep for the 17-year-old “Replay” singer told E! News, Lifetime wasn’t able to get the publishing rights to Aaliyah’s music, along with production issues, and Zen no longer wanted to be involved with the film if they couldn’t get the rights.
The R&B star and Queen of the Damned actress died at age 22 in a plane crash on Aug. 25, 2001. An inside source says, “[Aaliyah] has always been an inspiration to Zendaya.” “[The singer and actress] was honored to portray her and pay tribute to her. If she is going to do it, she wants to do it right.”
And to explain the publishing rights fiasco, Jomo Hankerson — who is the president of Aaliyah’s Blackground label and her cousin — told the Ryan Cameron show:
“We release all of Aaliyah’s albums. We control the masters for the entire catalogue. So when we saw the movie coming, no one had come to us for any music. Then we found out they were cutting four songs that they had did with the publishing company. To me, that’s crazy. Somebody else is going to sing over “One In A Million”?
[Blackground] control the actual masters, that’s the songs with Aaliyah on it. On our publishing company, Static [Major] wrote alot of the songs and he was one of our writers. So we also control a lot of our publishing, but not all of it. The Timbaland and Missy stuff…Warner/Chappell controls that. So they were able to kinda do a deal saying they were doing something for Lifetime, the license, the records for that. So that’s how they’re able to recut the records.
So far, actress Teyana Taylor and Zendaya have both dropped out of the Aaliyah movie. We’re wondering who is daring enough to take on the open lead role.