Disney Channel star Zendaya Coleman will portray Aaliyah in a Lifetime Original Movie about the life of the actress and R&B star who, at the height of her fame, died tragically in a plane crash.

The film, with the working title Aaliyah: Princess of R&B, is based on the bestseller Aaliyah: More Than a Woman by former Time Magazine music editor Christopher Farley.

Production begins this summer for a fall premiere.

Coleman, who competed on Dancing With the Stars and ironically dressed as Aaliyah for Halloween last year, will record four of Aaliyah’s songs for the film, including many of her hit singles.

From Lifetime:

Before Beyonce and before Rihanna, self-proclaimed “street but sweet” Aaliyah was poised to become a global icon with top-selling albums, a hot movie career and an adoring fan base. But behind the spotlight, Brooklyn-born, Detroit-raised Aaliyah Dana Haughton struggled to succeed in a tough business while staying grounded in the midst of her growing celebrity. The film follows the beautiful and talented performer’s inspirational journey, from her debut on Star Search at the age of ten to the challenges she faced during her rise to become the Princess of R&B.

On August 25, 2001, at the height of her popularity, her life was tragically cut short when a plane carrying the singer and some of her video crew crashed after takeoff from a Bahamian runway. Although just 22-years-old at the time of her death, Aaliyah continues to lead a legacy as Billboard’s tenth most famous R&B artist of the past 25 years and one of the recording industry’s most successful artists in history.

Multi-talented actress and Hollywood Records artist Zendaya recently released her self-titled 2013 debut full-length album on which she delivers soulful pop with an urban edge. Her first single from the album, “Replay,” was certified platinum for selling 1,000,000 copies in the U.S. this January, and now has more than 54 million views on YouTube.

Zendaya will star in the upcoming Disney Channel Original Series K.C. Undercover and the Disney Channel Original Movie, Zapped, which premieres this summer. She starred as Raquel “Rocky” Blue on the hit Disney Channel series Shake It Up!, as well as Shake It Up: Made In Japan, the record breaking song and dance–filled special that featured her single and video “Fashion is My Kryptonite.”

Zendaya was also the break out star and runner-up on Season 16 of Dancing with the Stars.

Aaliyah: Princess of R&B will be produced by Aaliyah Productions, Inc. Howard Braunstein (The Informant!) and Debra Martin Chase (The Princess Diaries, Sparkle) will serve as executive producers. Bradley Walsh (Turn the Beat Around) will direct from a script written by Michael Elliot (Brown Sugar).

Is Zendaya Coleman a good pick to play Aaliyah? Or is this casting totally wrong? Tell us what you think or who you would have chosen!

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14 thoughts on “Zendaya Coleman To Play Aaliyah in Lifetime Movie

  1. Diamondgrrl55 on said:

    I don’t like to bring other women and young ladies down so I will say this. I have seen her on Disney and that’s it. Her acting was what’s expected from a Disney character. So I hope she does well and makes us believe it! Please don’t disappoint…

  2. /.\ngie on said:

    No, Aaliyah was not biracial. This is NOTHING like Zoe Saldana playing Nina Simone!!! Zendaya is a triple threat, she is the perfect age, (Aaliyah came on the scene officially at 15–Zendaya is 17 so she can easily play both young and older Aaliyah without a drastic, over exaggerated change in appearance. Aaliyah’s mother and brother (her father is deceased) have no say because the Lifetime (not Disney) biopic is based on an unauthorized book by Christopher John Farley titled, ‘Aaliyah:More Than A Woman’. Please AT LEAST research before you bash. It’s one thing to have an opinion, it’s another thing to Bash (uneducated opinion)


  3. Zendaya is a good actress but I just feel like they should have casted a lesser-known actress who isn’t very mainstream, closer to the roots, and who can dance & sing just as well, I would appretiate a person like that who would have killed this role. Though she could do well, she’s just not it.. who is behind this Disney? the role of Aaliyah should be taken much more seriously.

  4. Diane on said:

    Another bright, damn near white miscast. Remember, Zoe Saldana playing Nina Simone. What’s next, Brown Bag Tests? Cultural conditioning. Film lasts forever, let’s not continue to make the same mistakes

  5. I don’t think Aliyah was Bi-racial though,and I’m pretty sure the casting producers are well aware of this. Only in “America’s Showbusiness”!!! #theblindinglightofmisinformationmustend

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