A lot of people were waiting on the airing of Lifetime’s ‘Aaliyah: Princess of R&B’ so, they could tear it apart. Especially since the TV movie had no approval from the late Princess of R&B’s family and supporters. Well, Alexandra Shipp (who is currently receiving a major online roasting alongside the film’s executive producer Wendy Williams) is catching feelings. She has been retweeting all the positive messages that she did an “amazing” job playing Aaliyah. But she just didn’t embody Aaliyah at all, not in the way that Angela Bassett embodied Tina Turner or in the way that Jennifer Lopez embodied Selena.
Shipp’s portrayal was empty, like she was just reading from a script. In real life, Aaliyah was coy, sweet, humble and soft spoken and that came across in her interviews. Shipp didn’t display that at all. Her mannerisms of Aaliyah were off, and so was the singing and dancing. Aaliyah was a great dancer but you would never have known it if you didn’t grow up watching Aaliyah like I did.
There was absolutely no attempt at accurately mimicking Aaliyah’s singing/speaking voice. And since they couldn’t secure the rights to use Aaliyah’s voice/music, they could have at least got somebody else who could sing to re-record some of the songs used in the performances.
The first first hour of the movie was basically about her relationship/illegal marriage to R. Kelly, which was done purposefully to attract money and ratings. It didn’t need that amount of attention as it was only a small part of her life. The angle that they took with it was bizarre. It was like watching a ghetto Romeo and Juliet love story and not of a 27-year-old sexual predator preying on a vulnerable 15-year-old girl.
They could have cut that down and put more detail of her life in the movie or focus on her other friendships. One being, Missy and Timbaland. Those two played a pivotal role in Aaliyah’s career right to the very end, crafting MANY of her biggest hits and they were only shown in ONE SCENE. The scene was really short where all three of them were in the studio mapping out her new sound and direction. ONE SCENE. That is how much they meant to Aaliyah’s career. They just weren’t important to producers.
The scenes didn’t mesh that well either. There were so many missing pieces. Certain stuff weren’t addressed properly. If they did address something, it didn’t receive a proper conclusion so the transitioning between scenes wasn’t smooth. They just randomly jumped to the next stage of her life, so it was badly rushed and horribly edited.
None of Aaliyah’s biggest hits were used in the film. Like, if you’re doing a biopic on a popular singer, you want to hear the music that made them become the household name they are today. The only tracks they showed her performing were songs that were not originally hers, most likely because they could get rights to them.
‘Are You That Somebody’ and ‘Try Again’ are arguably two of her most recognized hits and they were paid dust! If Beyoncé was to have a biopic one day (and she will), it would be a joke if they couldn’t use ‘Crazy In Love’ and ‘Single Ladies.’
Horrible acting. Horrible script. Horrible casting. Horrible dialogue. A big fat joke. When Lifetime realized they weren’t going to be able to make the movie properly, they should have opted not to make it AT ALL. They had to have known this was going to be an epic fail, from the cast, to the set, to the script, to not being able to use her music and hits, to her fans, friends, colleagues and most importantly her family not approving or supporting.
I’m waiting for Wendy Williams to address the bad press, negative reviews and onslaught of criticism during her ‘Hot Topics’ segment, but something tells me she probably won’t. At least Zendaya Coleman reserved her dignity and dropped out. It is such a shame that Aaliyah’s legacy was represented so poorly. Everyone involved in this atrocity owes Aaliyah’s family an apology.
If you missed it, you can watch it here, but you will ask yourself why you even bothered.