When news broke that there was a movie in the works about the life of the late singer Aaliyah, everyone had an opinion on who should be cast in the lead role.
Once Lifetime chose 17-year-old Zendaya Coleman to play the singer, the outrage started. An actual petition was created to stop the biopic. Members of Aaliyah’s immediate family are reportedly upset the network did not contact them before moving forward with production.
Lifetime has not released a statement regarding the matter.
The petition against the movie has attracted more than 2,000 signatures, but it hasn’t exactly started a ‘movement.’ It reads in part:
This petition is to stop the making of this Aaliyah biopic. It’s wrong that Aaliyah’s mother or brother didn’t have a say so in this movie that is being made. The fans didn’t get a say so and neither did any of Aaliyah’s friends. As her fans, we’re going to do anything in our power to stop this movie. Little do we know, this is hurting Mrs. Haughton and Rashad. They’re about to make something that didn’t even get approved from her family. That is beyond disrespectful. If you agree that this movie shouldn’t be made, you need to vote. If you really respect Aaliyah, you have to respect her mother and her brothers wishes. It’s only right. It was Aaliyah’s life. And they’re taking it too far now. We need to put a stop to this!
“I don’t know how that happens,” Marsha Ambrosius told theGrio.com’s Kyle Harvey. “Like, I don’t know how you make a flick about a family member that passed in such a way, that was near and dear to all of our hearts, and there’s right way to go about that in death for anyone. I just don’t feel its necessary to cross those lines.”
It’s still unclear if the family has approved of the biopic or not. A verified Twitter account dedicated to Aaliyah’s “memory,” tweeted the following earlier this week:
Fans we hear your comments and concerns !! unfortunately we cannot confirm the family is behind the project at this time—
Aaliyah (@AaliyahHaughton) June 17, 2014
Ambrosius worked with the late Michael Jackson on his 2001 album, Invincible and wrote the ballad “Butterflies.” Epic records just released a posthumous MJ album Xscape earlier this year with rave reviews.
Checkout what else Marsha had to say in our Grio sitdown.