Zendaya Coleman Explains Departure From Aaliyah Biopic
On the same day her replacement, Alexandra Shipp, was announced, the “Replay” singer opened up about her decision to drop out of the project in three Instagram videos.
“Let me just explain something,” Zendaya begins in the first video (above). “The reason why I chose not to do the Aaliyah movie 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.”
In the second video, she continues: “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. 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 OK with moving forward with the project.”
In her third and final video message, Zendaya offered her congratulations and good wishes to Alexandra.
“With all that being said, congratulations to the new woman playing Aaliyah,” she says. “I only hope she does not have to deal with half the hate that I had to deal with. And remember that we are all human beings trying to do what we love to do. Let’s practice motivation and love — not discrimination and hate. All right?”
Despite the disappointment, Zendaya is of course still a big fan of Aaliyah. Last week, she posted this sketch she did of the late “One in a Million” singer, which she captioned: “Time to go to sleep…I gotta stop myself or I’de be drawing all night…goodnight angel.”