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Zendaya Coleman seemed a little made as she offered kind words to Alexandra Shipp and explained why she bowed out of Lifetime’s Aaliyah biopic.

The Disney actress wants you to know that she didn’t let any of her critics badger her out of starring in the tentatively titled Aaliyah: Princess of R&B. Hours of after Wendy Williams announced that she was signing on the project to be executive producer and that Alexandra would be taking over the role of Aaliyah, Zendaya released a series of videos to explain the real reason she decided to quit the movie.

When news that she’d been cast as Aaliyah first came out, the Internet lost its mind. There were arguments that she wasn’t black enough for the part and that she wouldn’t be able to handle the role.

The opposition would be overwhelming for anyone, but Zendaya insists that she didn’t let it bother her. “Let me just explain something: 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.”

Zendaya went on to confirm the gossip that there were major problems behind the scenes that would keep the Aaliyah biopic from being the best portrayal of the singer’s life that it could be.

“The production value wasn’t there. There were complications with the music rights. And I just felt like it wasn’t being handled delicately considering the situation,” said Zendaya, who tried to contact Aaliyah’s loved ones and get their blessing on the project.

“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,” she added. “Therefore I felt not really morally okay with moving forward with the project.”

Just by the tone and the delivery of her words, Zendaya really seemed to be on the defensive in her videos. Still, she didn’t want to sign off without giving shout out to Alexandra, whom she hoped the public would embrace. Afterall, there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference in appearance between Zendaya and Alexandra, who stars in Nickelodeon’s “House of Anubis.”

“Congratulations to the new woman playing Aaliyah. I only hope that she does not have to deal with half the haters that I had to deal with,” said Zendaya. She sounded a little salty about the whole thing because she opted not to refer to Alexandra by name. Of course, she’s only 17 years old, so she still has some maturing to do.

On the other hand, it could be that she’s still upset about how her critics ruined the experience for her. “Remember that we are all human beings trying to do what we love to do,” Zendaya said in closing. “Let’s practice motivation and love, not discrimination and hate.”

Hopefully there won’t be as many production problems now that Wendy has signed on to produce (and we can bet to get more of the tea in the movie!).  While celebrating her 50th birthday, the talk show host Tweeted:

Watch her talk more about the gig in the video!


Zendaya Congratulates Alexandra Shipp On ‘Aaliyah’ Casting + Wendy Williams Signs On was originally published on

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