As Zendaya Coleman’s replacement for the Aaliyah biopic was announced as Alexandra Shipp on Friday, the young actress took to her Instagram account to address the controversy surrounding her casting. Only a few weeks ago, we brought you news of Zendaya being dropped from the biopic. As more attention was directed at her with Friday’s announcement, Coleman addressed some of the claims on social media.


“Let me just explain something. The reason why I chose not to do the Aaliyah movie had nothing to do with the haters or the people telling me I couldn’t do it, I wasn’t talented enough, or I wasn’t black enough,” she said about the backlash that followed her own casting announcement.

“The main reasons were 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,” she continued. “And 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 therefore I felt not really morally okay with moving forward with the project.”

Coleman also congratulated her replacement Shipp while encouraging viewers to practice “motivation and love, and not discrimination and hate.”

Of the 23-year-old starlet, Shipp, executive producer Debra Martin Chase said, “Like Aaliyah, Alex is a triple threat — a wonderful, strong actress; a very talented singer; and a great dancer. She also grew up idolizing Aaliyah and possesses a similar star quality. We are all thrilled to have Alex on board.”

According to executive producer Wendy Williams, the Lifetime biopic will resume filming this summer and is scheduled to premier this fall.

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