Aaliyah’s Family Vows To STOP The Lifetime Made-For-TV Biopic About Her Life


Yesterday we learned the news that singer/actress Zendaya has been cast to play Aaliyah in a Lifetime made-for-TV biopic movie about her life, scheduled to debut on the network this fall. Today we learn that Aaliyah’s family is NOT happy with Lifetime’s plan to make this biopic film and they reportedly VOW to stop the movie in any way they can. The report we heard yesterday claimed that Zendaya will re-record a few of Aaliyah’s classic songs for the biopic but today we hear that the family has not and will not give Lifetime permission to use her music. It sounds like a feud is brewin’, y’all.

Aaliyah’s family is on the attack against “Lifetime” … vowing to stop production on her biopic. Lifetime plans to start filming this summer … chronicling the R&B singer’s life and tragic death. 17-year-old Disney actress Zendaya has been cast as Aaliyah — who died in 2001 in a plane crash. Aaliyah’s uncle and former manager, Barry Hankerson, tells us the family is pissed that no one from the network contacted them about the movie. Hankerson says the family will block any attempt on Lifetime’s part to use any of Aaliyah’s music. He says the family has hired a lawyer and will do everything they can to block release of the flick. The family is not opposed to a big, theatrical film, but thinks a TV movie is too small for someone as big as Aaliyah. We called Lifetime … so far no response.

I, personally, am looking forward to the release of this Aaliyah movie, even if it’s only going to be a Lifetime made-for-TV movie. I assumed that the family was on board when it was reported that Zendaya will be re-recording a few of Aaliyah’s songs but we now know that that is not the case. I have a feeling, tho, that this “feud” will be resolved at some point. Either the family will be paid enough money to jump on board with their support OR Lifetime will just make the movie without Aaliyah’s music. This movie is coming, whether Aaliyah’s family likes it or not. Just you wait and see.


  • Mela

    I dunno. I’m with the family on this one. Aaliyah was a movie actress as well as a singer and if her life is going to be told I would think it would make sense for it to be played out on the big screen, the way her life was. I just think a TV movie by lifetime will turn the events in her life into a real cheese-fest. It’s tough because no matter what they do they will draw comparisons to “Selena” and that bio-pic would be very difficult to stand up beside.

  • nicole

    it seems like with all these Aaliyah projects people try to get off the ground..they all have he same thing in common as to why they never happen – they never ask permission. it seems like we could have had a bunch of Aaliyah stuff, but no one asks her family.
    i wasnt all that excited about the casting, and now knowing her family isnt behind it. yeah…not looking forward to it.

    • Krissy

      But they don’t need the family’s permission to re-record her songs. Anyone can do a cover legally, you just have to pay royalties to the original writers of the song. They would only need permission if they were going to use the original recording, and that would also hinge on whether her family owned the rights to her songs. It is very possible that she didn’t get any publishing rights for her music if she was just the voice on them and did not write, etc.

  • al

    To Nicole’s point, I must say I love how protective Aaliyah’s family seem to be regarding her legacy. Yes I’d love to hear all her unreleased material and I’m obsessed over anything Aaliyah, but I would want the material released to be respective of her craft which it seems the parents do as well.

  • Krissy

    Whenever a biopic is made about a person who lived a relatively short time ago, I feel like the family tends to make way too big of a deal about who plays their loved one. They all approach these projects like the star was such a special unicorn that no one could ever take their place. All that means is that they are limiting the number of people their loved one’s work will reach by having such impossibly high standards.

    No actor or actress will look EXACTLY like the original star, or sound like them or move like them. It is unrealistic.

    The best thing for Aaliyah and her music is to be introduced to a new generation, or it will be forgotten. It is already being forgotten. It is actually a really great idea to use a Disney girl with an established teen following as a way to introduce current teens to Aaliyah. It will be the thing that connects her music with the demographic that is most likely to enjoy it.

    • True Aaliyah Fan

      Okay. Either you’re white, really young, or just plain stupid. But one thing is very clear: You are not an Aaliyah fan. For those who are actually in her target demographic (the hip-hop and r&b cultures), her music has NOT been forgotten and never will be. We still hear her music on OUR radio stations. We still play her music in OUR homes. OUR children know who she is and sing her songs as if she was still here. Please, don’t assume that just because you never heard of her, or you didn’t grow up with her, that her music is going to die out. Furthermore, by saying that a Disney teen star should play the role to introduce Aaliyah’s music to a different demographic, you’re really saying that you think white people, or people who don’t indulge in hip-hop/r&b culture, should be introduced to her music. There’s nothing wrong with that. But honestly, if white people cared enough, they would’ve been listening to her music a long time ago. She has albums. She’s been in movies. It’s not like she’s some random has-been. She was FAMOUS. They wouldn’t need a biopic to find out about her. Aaliyah is an icon–always has been. She was literally a superstar at the time of her death, so to say that a biopic is the only way people will find out about who she is says A LOT about how “mainstream” culture–white culture–feels about her, which is exactly why Lifetime has no business making a movie about her in the first place. Your comment is very ignorant, and the next time you want to comment on something this serious, DO YOUR RESEARCH. And by the way, Aaliyah IS a “special unicorn” and NO ONE could ever take her place. Her work has reached millions BEFORE this biopic idea, and it will continue to reach millions with or without it. People still enjoy her work; as I stated before, WE still play it on OUR radio stations, and of course her movies play on OUR networks. Since you have such a strong opinion, why don’t you read up on Aaliyah? Maybe you’ll understand why this is such a big deal and why so many are offended, and maybe–just maybe–you won’t make careless comments like this again. P.S. The actors never look like the actual stars in the biopic. Those who have been on this Earth long enough know that. You’re missing the entire point. Again, do your research.

    • Nichole1984

      PREACH!!!! True Aaliyah fans do not want this.

    • Nichole1984

      No one can take Aaliyah’s place. Do you even know anything about Aaliyah? I was a teen in the late 90s and early 2000s and Aaliyah’s music is still special to me. I don’t need tween jamming out to her music or watching a stupid Lifetime movie so they can think that they know her legacy. Aaliyah was BEAUTIFUL and TALENTED and her true fans know that. We don’t need Lifetime or Zendaya cheapening who Aaliyah was. Her death was a tragedy that left her fans reeling. I still listen to her music and get extremely upset knowing how she passed. So suddenly and when she was showing so much promise. It was a tragedy that people who don’t know Aaliyah will never understand.

      “They all approach these projects like the star was such a special unicorn that no one could ever take their place” pretty heartless comment. I think any family member would believe that no one would ever take their deceased child’s place without even thinking about the fact that she was a superstar. I think it is more impressive and endearing that they are against this film instead of jumping at the chance to throw her name on television again.

  • Alicia Kiah

    This is SO wrong.. Not only is Aaliyah way more important than a trash lifetime movie film, her FAMILY does not want it. Millions of people around the world still look up to the beautiful woman and to show her in a ‘D’ rated film and channel, where fat-middle aged woman watch is a crime to her precious life. The only people in the entire world who should have the right to release a film potraying such a talented musician and soul should be the FAMILY.

  • ella

    Aaliyah’s family is extremely protective of her, and I think anyone familiar with her life story understands why. Given who she was and what her experiences were in the industry, I can’t believe that anyone claiming to respect her and her legacy is still trying to do projects about her without the full support and collaboration of her family and close friends.