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Zendaya Explains Why She Exited Lifetime’s Aaliyah Biopic

Zendaya Coleman

Zendaya Coleman

By Jessica Goodman 

Lifetime cast a new lead in its Aaliyah biopic after Zendaya Coleman backed out of the role last month without comment. Nickelodeon actress Alexandra Shipp will now take her place, but Coleman took to Instagram to explain why she exited the made-for-TV movie.

In three separate videos she said she didn’t leave because of the haters like many fans thought. “The main reason is that 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 said.

Aaliyah died in a plane crash at age 22 in 2001 and her family has been outspoken about fighting the film. Zendaya addressed their concerns and said, “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 OK with moving forward with the project.”

She wished Shipp well in the new role and asked fans to drop the drama. “Let’s practice motivation and love; not discrimination and hate. All right?”

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