|FANS AND FAMILY OF LATE SINGER AND ACTRESS AALIYAH BAND TOGETHER TO CEASE THE PRODUCTION OF HER UNAUTHORIZED BIOPIC BY LIFETIME NETWORK|
|Family and fans of the late star speak out against Lifetime’s unauthorized production of the biopic and refuse to support the project|
|Monday, Lifetime announced its plans to produce a biopic of the legendary singer and actress Aaliyah with Disney’sZendaya Coleman playing the posthumous star. Tentatively entitled Aaliyah: Princess of R&B, the film is based on the bestseller Aaliyah: More Than a Woman by former Time magazine music editor Christopher Farley.
With no input on the project, the family of the late singer and actress has taken to the media to express its disdain for the film project. According to Jomo Hankerson, cousin and president of her label, Blackground Records, no one from the cable network reached out to the family regarding the biopic. As they reserve the rights to the music and likeness of the singer, relatives see it fit that those closest to Aaliyah contribute to the biopic to ensure that her story is told well and accurately. Furthermore, the family feels that Aaliyah’s story is worthy of a major motion picture release.
Hankerson released this statement:
Aaliyah was more than a singer, she was -and is still – an American music icon whose legacy continues to live on and influence today’s music culture, just as Ray Charles, Notorious B.I.G., Selena and Johnny Cash. Considering the magnitude of her fans’ affection alone, she deserves to have a tribute much more grand than a television network debut that won’t even consider the perspectives of those who were closest to Aaliyah. Disregarding the families and dishonoring the legacies of celebrated figures who have passed on, big networks want to exploit their stories for a buck. We’re here to make it clear that it’s not okay! Lifetime Television is trying to dictate the status of our heroes, our heroines and – in this case – our beloved Aaliyah. We implore everyone to call Lifetime Television, send emails and bombard social media so they know we demand respect for our cultural icons. We will not sit idly by while they misrepresent and reap profits from our luminaries. There is more at stake than the public could imagine.
After learning of the exclusion of Aaliyah’s family and close friends from the production, the once-excited fans quickly banded together to circulate a petition to put a stop to the unauthorized film.
Believing that Lifetime should have handled things differently, the family and label have decided not to license any original Aaliyah music, use of her likeness, or lend any type of support to this project. The family will continue to explore its legal options.