Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
TONIGHT at New Voices in Black Cinema Festival: NYC Premiere of British Coming of Age Dramedy 'Gone Too Far' TONIGHT at New Voices in Black Cinema Festival: NYC Premiere of British Coming of Age Dramedy 'Gone Too Far' New Voices in Black Cinema Festival Kicks-Off Tonight w/ 'Knucklehead' + 'Of Good Report' New Voices in Black Cinema Festival Kicks-Off Tonight w/ 'Knucklehead' + 'Of Good Report' Idris Elba in Talks to Play the Villain in 'Star Trek 3' - But Who Could It Be? Idris Elba in Talks to Play the Villain in 'Star Trek 3' - But Who Could It Be? Watch: The Life & Passions of an Architect Turned Street-Sweeper & Security Guard are in Focus in Short Film 'Limbo' Watch: The Life & Passions of an Architect Turned Street-Sweeper & Security Guard are in Focus in Short Film 'Limbo' Best Performances By Black Actors/Actresses Ever? (Survey) Best Performances By Black Actors/Actresses Ever? (Survey) Ken Burns Talks Walking Away From a Martin Luther King Jr. Film + New Jackie Robinson Bio Ken Burns Talks Walking Away From a Martin Luther King Jr. Film + New Jackie Robinson Bio NBPC 360 Incubator Program Selects 8 Producing Teams to Compete for Up to $150,000 in Development Funds NBPC 360 Incubator Program Selects 8 Producing Teams to Compete for Up to $150,000 in Development Funds 'Single Ladies' Returns Tonight to a Rebranded Centric - "The First Network Designed for Black Women" 'Single Ladies' Returns Tonight to a Rebranded Centric - "The First Network Designed for Black Women" The 'Rush Hour' TV Series Adaptation Has Cast Its Two Leads The 'Rush Hour' TV Series Adaptation Has Cast Its Two Leads A New Edition Biopic Might Be Coming to a Theater Near You If This Fan-Made Trailer Goes Viral A New Edition Biopic Might Be Coming to a Theater Near You If This Fan-Made Trailer Goes Viral HBO Seeks Diverse, Emerging Writers for HBOAccess Writing Fellowship HBO Seeks Diverse, Emerging Writers for HBOAccess Writing Fellowship Two-Part Documentary 'Freeway: Crack in the System' Coming to Al Jazeera America (Trailer) Two-Part Documentary 'Freeway: Crack in the System' Coming to Al Jazeera America (Trailer) 'Empire' Breaks Fox TV’s 22 Year Old Ratings Record 'Empire' Breaks Fox TV’s 22 Year Old Ratings Record Theatrical Release Set for Award-Winning Coming-of-Age Drama 'Calloused Hands' Theatrical Release Set for Award-Winning Coming-of-Age Drama 'Calloused Hands' Watch Lynn Whitfield & Vivica Fox in Trailer for Nigerian-Produced '30 Days in Atlanta' (The Plight of the Black Actress) Watch Lynn Whitfield & Vivica Fox in Trailer for Nigerian-Produced '30 Days in Atlanta' (The Plight of the Black Actress) 'Lucy' and the Absence of the Black Race in Origin of Humanity Theories 'Lucy' and the Absence of the Black Race in Origin of Humanity Theories Third 'Best Man' Movie Gets a Title, an Official 2016 Release Date & A Most Unexpected Wedding Third 'Best Man' Movie Gets a Title, an Official 2016 Release Date & A Most Unexpected Wedding Whoopi Goldberg & Daughter Alex Martin Enter Reality TV Series Ring Whoopi Goldberg & Daughter Alex Martin Enter Reality TV Series Ring VH1 Cancels 'Single Ladies' - Season 3 Will Be Its Last VH1 Cancels 'Single Ladies' - Season 3 Will Be Its Last Tyra Banks Confirms Sequel To 'Life-Size' For 2014/2015 Release But Tight-Lipped On Details Tyra Banks Confirms Sequel To 'Life-Size' For 2014/2015 Release But Tight-Lipped On Details

Aaliyah’s Relationship w/ R. Kelly Will be Explored in Biopic + Family Doesn't Approve

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act June 23, 2014 at 3:35PM

The two singers were allegedly married in 1994, when Aaliyah would've been only 15 years old to R. Kelly's 27.
7
Zendaya

“Aaliyah’s personal and professional relationship with R. Kelly will be explored with care in the film as we set out to depict her life with the utmost respect. Above all else, it’s our hope to inspire an entirely new generation with her music and larger-than-life talent.”

The above words come from Executive producer Debra Martin Chase, speaking to the New York Post in a piece published yesterday. This comes on the heels of the June 16th announcement that recording artist Zendaya will portray Aaliyah in the Lifetime Original Movie about the life of the actress and R&B sensation who, at the height of her stardom, tragically died in a plane crash.

The next obvious question is: who will play R. Kelly? Chime in with your thoughts in the comment section below.

The two singers were allegedly married in 1994, when Aaliyah would've been only 15 years old to R. Kelly's 27. Although they denied it, a marriage certificate later  surfaced, with her age falsely listed as 18 (her parents were later said to have annulled the marriage).  

Based on the bestseller "Aaliyah: More Than a Woman" by former Time Magazine music editor Christopher Farley, the Lifetime Original Movie will be titled "Aaliyah: Princess of R&B" (although it's a working title), the first movie about the beloved artist, and will be filmed this summer to premiere in the Fall.

Quite a fast turnaround!

Here's Lifetime's official synopsis for the film from the press release I received:

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.

Platinum-selling artist Zendaya will record four of Aaliyah’s songs for the film, including many of her hit singles.

By the way, also of note, Aaliyah's family reportedly doesn't support the film and is said to be attempting to block its making. 

"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," the family said in a statement, adding, "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!"

This project comes shortly after Yaya DaCosta Alafia was cast to play Whitney Houston in another Lifetime biopic - that one to be directed by Angela Bassett, her directorial debut. Clearly Lifetime hopes to rip some ratings and profits from biopics on the lives of black musicians.

I should also note VH1's TLC biopic, which was a hit for that network when it premiered last fall.

"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").

This article is related to: TV News


Shadow & ActNewsletter