On Friday, July 18, news broke on the Wendy Williams Show that Nickelodeon star Alexandra Shipp would replace Coleman in Aaliyah: Princess of R&B. According to Billboard 's Jocelyn Vena in "Zendaya Coleman Opens Up About Aaliyah Biopic," TV host and former disc jockey Williams is now listed as an executive producer.
Coleman posted a collection of Instagram videos that finally explain her decision on July 18.
She first tells what didn't cause her to leave the project. "The reason why I chose not to do the Aaliyah movie had nothing to do with the haters or people telling me I couldn't do it, I wasn't talented enough or I wasn't black enough." Instead, she points out "the production value wasn't there." So why wasn't it there?
Aaliyah's family openly questioned the production; especially since the family had no involvement in the creation of the project. Supposedly, the singer's family wanted a big screen production, not a small screen, and more control.
Not always a bad thing about wanting control, but any fan knows the likelihood of an official story being broadcast on television is rare. After all, Lifetime's doing its very best to ignore approved biopics, seeing as the Saved By The Bell one is still going to air.
Turns out that Zendaya did her best to work around the contention of network and family, too. "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."
Actors have left biopic projects for less and thrown everyone under the bus while backing out. Instead Zendaya wanted to find a compromise between production and family, but once that was apparently not going to happen, she reevaluated the project's worth. Impressive.
Lack of music rights for Aaliyah is a big problem, too. Singer biopics need rights to songs that made the singer popular, after all. Can anyone imagine the latest James Brown biopic Get on Up without Chadwick Boseman belting out "baby, baby, baby" from "I Got The Feeling"? Looks like the Shake It Up star was in tune with everything going wrong and made a wise decision.
And Zendaya apparently had enough. "I just felt like it wasn't being handled delicately considering the situation." Pretty mature reasoning after fans seemed to burn the house down around her for taking the part.
But she didn't end on a bad note after parting from the project, either.
Referencing Shipp, she hoped "that she does not have to deal with half the haters that I had to deal with." Which indicates the constant criticism was wearing at times. Even so, she wanted the public to "remember that we are all human beings trying to do what we love to do."
And given the backlash of her racial background, Zendaya wanted people to focus on the good things in life. "Let's practice motivation and love, not discrimination and hate."
Even when the public tore her to pieces, she only wished the best for her replacement and society at the same time. Pretty mature comments from a 17-year-old child star.