Zendaya probably wasn’t expecting a backlash over her casting as Aaliyah. But in the age of the internet, she shouldn’t be surprised. Fans of the late R&B singer have spent the past two days burning up social media with their dissatisfaction.
Lifetime announced Monday that it had tapped Zendaya to play the “More Than a Woman” singer in the upcoming biopic “Aaliyah: Princess of R&B.” But some fans claim it’s a bad choice because the two look nothing alike. “Zendaya as Aaliyah? No,” Twitter user Olivia A. Cole wrote.
Another critic had even more harsh words, tweeting, “Aaliyah was a brown skinned, petite woman. Who is cherub faced, ivory skinned girl, Harpo??”
Despite the criticism, Zendaya responded with positivity. “I’m just a 17 year old girl who got cast to play one of her biggest inspirations,” the Disney actress tweeted.
“Aaliyah: Princess of R&B” tells the story of the singer who tragically died in a plane crash at the age of 22 in 2001. Part of the outcry has also stemmed from the singer’s family not having been consulted on the film.
Zendaya will record four of Aaliyah’s songs for the film, Lifetime has said. Aaliyah’s uncle and former manager Barry Hankerson told TMZ that the family will attempt to block the network from using any of the singer’s music.
A representative for Lifetime has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment.