Aaliyah fans continue to complain about the casting of Zendaya Coleman in Lifetime’s upcoming biopic of the late singer, and some have turned attention toward her skin color, claiming the actress isn’t black enough.
During a recent interview with Splash News, the biracial Disney star offered a response for the haters.
“Well a lot of people say that I’m not black, but this gentleman is my father,” Zendaya said before putting her arm around her dad, who is African-American.
“Half black is just enough,” she continued. “It doesn’t matter what color you are, it’s about how you portray the character.”
Zendaya referenced the film “What’s Love Got to Do With It” as an example.
“For those that don’t know, Angela Bassett and Tina Turner, they look nothing alike but she was that character so I think that’s what it’s all about.”
Zendaya’s dad, Kazembe Ajamu Coleman, made light of the skin color backlash, adding: “And another thing, they’re shooting this in the summer. So Zendaya will be spending lots of time in the sun and she’ll be dark enough.”
As previously reported, the biopic, tentatively titled “Aaliyah: Princess of R&B,” will be based on Christopher Farley’s book, Aaliyah: More Than a Woman. Among the critics denouncing the project are Aaliyah’s family.
Her cousin and president of her label Blackground Records, Jomo Hankerson, released a statement through the family’s PR team denying any involvement with the project:
“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.”