Sooo…when I first read that Disney star Zendaya Coleman was cast as Aaliyah in the biopic “Aaliyah: Princess of R&B,” I went into one of those self-righteous Black power rants about Zendaya not being brown enough to play “Baby Girl.” I thought back to “106 & Park” host Keshia Chante, whose been lobbying to play the role of Aaliyah since birth (OK, maybe not that early, but as soon as she could pick out her own Tommy Hilfiger boxers and overalls, she did). It was the same feeling I got when Zoe Saldana was cast as Nina Simone. Let’s just say, I wasn’t feeling it.
Then, after some grueling research (a quick search on Youtube and dialogue with #TeamBeautiful) I realized, casting the Aaliyah biopic was about more than who looked like her (sorry Keshia) and more about who could move and sound like her. *Throws to this video of Zendaya hitting a pretty swaggy dance break*
Zendaya isn’t the obvious pick, but I think with some tanning and assistance from Aaliyah’s former choreographer Fatima, she will rise to the part. The forthcoming flick is based on the bestseller “Aaliyah: More Than a Woman.” The Lifetime Original Movie will be filmed this summer and premiere in the Fall.
Do you think Zendaya can pull it off? Let us know in the comments section. In the meantime I did my own round of casting, check out who I think should play the rest of the pivotal people in Aaliyah’s life.
1. Casting The Aaliyah Biopic...1 of 11
2. Keshia Chante As Aaliyah Dana Haughton2 of 11
3. Omar Gooding As Timbaland3 of 11
4. Columbus Short As Dame Dash4 of 11
5. Jamie Foxx As R. Kelly5 of 11
6. Danielle Brooks As Missy Elliott6 of 11
7. Terrence J As Aaliyah's Brother Rashad Haughton7 of 11
8. Affion Crockett As Jay Z8 of 11
9. Justin Combs As Ginuwine9 of 11
10. Michael K. Williams As DMX10 of 11
11. Aaliyah's Mother Diane Haughton11 of 11