Alexandra Shipp Signs On for Aaliyah Biopic

Alexandra Shipp

The Aaliyah biopic is back on. After Zendaya dropped out last month, a new starlet has signed on to play the R&B singer in the upcoming Lifetime movie.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, 23-year-old actress Alexandra Shipp will take on the role.

Shipp has starred on Nickelodeon’s “House of Anubis” and appeared on episodes of “Switched at Birth,” “Awkward,” and “Ray Donovan.”

Wendy Williams, who will now serve as executive producer, announced the news Friday on Facebook.

“Wendy and Wendy Williams Productions are proud to announce that they are joining Debra Martin Chase as executive producers on the Aaliyah Lifetime movie! Production begins later this month with Alexandra Shipp playing Aaliyah.”

Shipp takes over for Disney Channel star Zendaya Coleman, who exited the project after production issues including problems obtaining the rights to Aaliyah’s music.

“Aaliyah has always been an inspiration to Zendaya,” a rep for the actress told E! News. “She was honored to portray her and pay tribute to her. If she is going to do it, she wants to do it right.”

Aaliyah’s family has publicly condemned the film, and has reportedly hired a lawyer to halt production.

The biopic, entitled Aaliyah: Princess of R&B, is set to begin production later this month and premiere in the fall. The script is based off Christopher Farley’s best-selling biography Aaliyah: More Than a Woman.



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49 Comments

  1. Shutterbug

    I agree…if the familia doesn’t want it, DON’T DO IT.

    Besides, a familia-approved biopic would hit theaters!

    [Reply]

    meme Reply:

    @Shutterbug, lmfao at hit theaters. No disrespect to Aaliyah but you people act as though this woman was big superstar. During the time Aaliyah was out….Mya, Brandy and Monica were all bigger than she was and that doesnt say alot. Whitney Houston Biopic isnt even hitting theaters and she was the greatest singer on the planet. I cant lol

    [Reply]

    Danielle Reply:

    @meme, She was a superstar, get that through your thick sull. She opened doors for many women includingg your fave who is reaching legendary status and has done nothing but take her clothes of with that goat voice of hers. You’re irrelevant and souund stupid and Rihanna is NOT special.

    [Reply]

    Deejay Reply:

    @Danielle, I swear you Aaliyah fans are so delusional when it comes to her “legacy”. I mean, may she rest in peace. But to be honest Aaliyah was just….. REGULAR. She wasn’t doing anything groundbreaking, her voice was mediocre(at best), dancing mediocre(at best). Her music was selling tons of copies. She never did anything innovative. I can’t name not one Aliyah performance where she slayed the stage. She doesn’t have 1 single album that will truely be remembered as “classic”. She was Just ok. The most memorable thing about Aaliyah is her beauty. That is all. And this is all no shade. I’m just being honest. But you girls try to give her too much. Like “she opened doors”???? Girl whaaaaat doors did Aaliyah open? Specifically. Please tell me.
    Her movie doesn’t even belong on lifetime. It belongs on clear channel or TVone. Bye

    [Reply]

    Danielle Reply:

    @Deejay, Open doors, the way she dressed, the way she sang, the way she made her music.. That’s more than any of these fake wannabes like Rih and Bey copy catting other people. Stfu.

    [Reply]

    Oh Reply:

    @Deejay, U SOUND DUMB Aaliyah WAS THE FIRST Solo R&B girl in the 90′s shes the reason why teen pop acts like Britney,Xtina, and Destinny’s Child were here

    Aaliyah was the 1ST TEENAGER OUT IN THE 90′S IN THE RnB game that had never been done before. WATCH YOUR MOUTH CUZ bitches STILL COPY Aaliyah swag and dont even know it

    [Reply]

    Deejay Reply:

    @Oh, Lmao girl please check your facts and history before you comment. BRANDY was the first young solo female R&B chick. Brandy’s first album came out in 1994 and then Monica released her album in 1995 and THEN Aaliyah’s late following ass released her album in 1996. AND before she died her sales were not anywhere near comparable to Brandy’s OR Monica’s. Her music didn’t start selling until she died. This is why I call Aaliyah fans delusional. Check facts before you speak. And as far as her “opening doors with er fashion and voice”. -___________- child I refuse to even respond to that foolishness.lmao cut it out. Bye

    Deejay Reply:

    @Oh, Lmao Actually sweetheart you sound dumb. girl please check your facts and history before you comment. BRANDY was the first young solo female R&B chick. Brandy’s first album came out in 1994 and then Monica released her album in 1995 and THEN Aaliyah released her album in 1996. So she was actually the 3rd young female. Not 1st. AND before she died her sales were not anywhere near comparable to Brandy’s OR Monica’s. Her music didn’t start selling until she died. This is why I call Aaliyah fans delusional. Check facts before you speak. And as far as her “opening doors with er fashion and voice”. -___________- child I refuse to even respond to that foolishness.lmao cut it out. Bye

    poe Reply:

    @Deejay Aaaliyah’s first album came out in May 1994. Brandy’s came out in September 1994. Get the facts right.

    LiveLoveLaugh Reply:

    @Oh, I’m a big Aaliyah fan, but some of you so called Aaliyah stans need to remember who paved the way for her, the legendary name is JANET JACKSON, and she was the one who opened doors for Aaliyah, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Ciara, and a lot of other female singers who has praised her as an inspiration. Remember Janet Jackson was rocking tomboy during the 80s, just because Aaliyah’s style became popular didn’t mean she invented tomboy. Every female singer today who does tomboy isn’t trying to be like Aaliyah. smh!

    Meme Reply:

    @Deejay, I am in tears right now lmaooo. This was too funny. I agree tho. I can’t think of a single door Aaliyah opened.

    [Reply]

    Adelephant Reply:

    @Deejay …*SCREAMS* LMFAOOOOO. I am in tears !!!!!!! Yasssss u better read for te GAWDS !!!!! Let these delusional Aaliyah fans know… she didn’t open any doors. U stated the facts now they need to DEAL

    Oh Reply:

    @Meme, the fact that your fave Rihannas WHOLE last 2 era’s have been nothing but Aaliyah cloned looks….

    SdotB Reply:

    @Deejay, Excuse me, but Aaliyah’s 1st album (Age ain’t nothin but a #) came out in ’94…her second album (One in a Million) came out in ’96-’97…she came out a little before or around the same time as Brandy

    And just to elaborate on your comment…Aaliyah was an R&B star! She had big hits like “Are You That Somebody”, “Try Again”, “One in a Million”, “If your girl only knew”, and the list goes on…she sold millions of records, and starred in two #1 movies at the box office while she was alive…

    You say her choreography was mediocre?? Are u serious?? Her videos and performances were best known for the dance moves…”Are u that somebody” was the CLASSIC dance video!!!! “Try Again” was another, “More Than A Woman”, “Rock da Boat”, etc…

    It’s ok if you weren’t into her like that, but don’t discredit or downplay her Star Status and success while she was alive…Aaliyah was huge whether you like it or not!

    [Reply]

    SdotB Reply:

    @Deejay, Excuse me, but Aaliyah’s 1st album (Age ain’t nothin but a #) came out in ’94…her second album (One in a Million) came out in ’96-’97…she came out a little before or around the same time as Brandy

    And just to elaborate on your comment…Aaliyah was an R&B star! She had big hits like “Are You That Somebody”, “Try Again”, “One in a Million”, “If your girl only knew”, and the list goes on…she sold millions of records, and starred in two #1 movies at the box office while she was alive…

    You say her choreography was mediocre?? Are u serious?? Her videos and performances were best known for the dance moves…”Are u that somebody” was the CLASSIC dance video!!!! “Try Again” was another, “More Than A Woman”, “Rock da Boat”, etc…

    It’s ok if you weren’t into her like that, but don’t discredit or downplay her Star Status and success while she was alive…Aaliyah was huge whether you like it or not!

    [Reply]

    Oh Reply:

    @SdotB,

    THAT BITCH IS DUMB Aaliyah came out BEFORE BRANDY!! Aaliyah was the 1ST GIRL OUT IN THE 90′S !

    This DUMB ASS bitch @Deejay AINT GOT SHIT TO SAY NOW

    Deejay Reply:

    @SdotB, Lmao. The biggest hit of Aaliyah’s career wasn’t even from her album. It was on the “Dr. Dolittle” movie soundtrack. -_____________- Need I say more??? No one remembers her 1st, 2nd, or 3rd(did she even have a 3rd album??) album. The gal was irrelevant. She was cute for radio every once in a while but that’s it. The reason it’s gonna be so easy for them to make this movie without her music is because her music wasn’t important. No one cared then. No one cares now. People only wanna here about her scandal. Sex with R kelly, dame dash or whoever else she dated that’s it. I mean child her movie is being produced by Wendy Williams. -________- lmao Nuff said.

    Niceboy850 Reply:

    @Deejay, Aaliyah debut album Age A’int Nothing But a Number came out in May 1994, and Brandy’s self-titled debut album came in September 1994, and Monica’s debut album Miss Thang came out in June 1995. Get your facts straight you brainless fool.

    [Reply]

    girl Reply:

    @Deejay, you are typical for your stupid pathetic uneducated and ignorant generation!
    I hate this generation.
    I wish I was 10 years older.

    [Reply]

    Keepin'It100 Reply:

    @Danielle, Actually, Madonna, Janet, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Beyonce opened doors for Rihanna and such today!

    [Reply]

    Hih8er Reply:

    @Keepin’It100, do some of you guys read and think what you guys are saying? You guys are disrespectful and childish, it’s not even funny. Are really that shallow where you have to say distasteful shit? This woman is well respected and obviously still well known by people today. To throw people under the bus (people who’ve sadly passed on) says a lot about your character. What has “your fave” done for you? Does “your fave” pay your bills? Does “your fave” do anything in this world to help stop war and end poverty and violence in your community? SHUT UP AND ENJOY THE MUSIC AND RESPECT THOSE WHO ARE NO LONGER LIVING ON THIS EARTH (fan or no fan) YOUR COMMENTS ARE SICK AND DISGUSTING!

    [Reply]

  2. xedos

    The movie will base off a book,so they don’t need the parents approval. I don’t know why people think she deserve a big screen movie. She was not a major worldwide artist. She was big I. The urban market that’s it. If she was a crossover artist this movie would have been made already.

    [Reply]

  3. Rob

    Much better than Zendaya.

    [Reply]

    Oh Reply:

    @Rob, NOT REALLY
    GO LOOK AT MORE PICS. THIS GIRL IS LIGHTER THAN ZENDAYA IM SOOO MAD.

    WHY DO THEY KEEP CASTING ALL THESE LIGHT BRIGHT SKIN ASS FEMALES TO PLAY Aaliyah?

    Aaliyah was sexy in baggy clothes and had a mysteriousness to her eyes

    [Reply]

    a Reply:

    @Oh, zendaya = ugly
    alexandra shipp = sexy
    end of the topic

    [Reply]

    Oh Reply:

    @a, Zendaya looks better than this fat faced ugly half white bitch. neither one of them look black enough to be Aaliyah

    DONT BE FOOLED BY THE PIC ABOVE. Alexandra looks NOTHING like it

    [Reply]

  4. MRB

    This is a better selection!!! However if the family is against then why are we here? Also why is Wendy apart of this production?

    [Reply]

  5. OnlyChrisJ

    I Would’ve Preferred Zendaya Doing It But Oh Well I’ll See What She’s About

    [Reply]

  6. Oh

    She looks more like Aaliyah than Zendisney

    [Reply]

  7. NASIR

    At least she resembles her a bit. But Wendy Williams as executive producer? WTF no

    [Reply]

  8. Grace

    They can go all around the mulberry bush and drag these girls out but I’ve yet to see one that resembles Aaliyah more than Sabi. Hate to keep beating a dead horse, but really…

    [Reply]

  9. From France

    Aaliyah is the best . I’m ok with that.

    But I don’t know if her life deserves a biopic..I mean.. she was a normal girl like you and me.

    She didn’t do drugs, she wasn’t alcoholic. Except her weeding w/ Rkelly , she never shocked nobody.

    Whitney will be interesting for a biopic cause she was controversial . But Aaliyah was a too peaceful person for that.

    RIP.

    [Reply]

    Danielle Reply:

    @From France, I agree and why is it that everyone else gets a posthumous movie & music and she doesn’t? That’s unfair to the fans that helped to make her famous. Aaliyah loved her fans and said if anything happens she wants to be remembered through her music, as a full on entainer and a good person, so why must everything she did based on unreleased music and what not be hidden? Why so secretive and covered up? I’m pretty sure would have wanted to be remembered by her fans and future generations to come. I’m sure she would have wanted to live on through her music. So why can’t she? I don’t see the problem. Is there something we don’t know about her? Her albuums don’t even sell in stores anymore. I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t have wanted to be remembered that way. i remeber her saying she wanted to be in the industryy for a long time, to make her mark and be remembered. It’s been 14 years! Others passed on artists have gotten their realese and stuff so why can’t she? She was also a star, who opened doors for people in music, a trendsetter with music and fashion and still is today. How many artists have Aaliyah as their inspiration, put her songs or sample her in their msuic, dress like her, try to copy her futuristic sound and falsetto voice, or want to be Aaliyah. The controversy was with R Kelly and her Jay Z and Damon Dash and her premature passing. I think she deserves a thatre movie and Whitney too They were big stars, and still are today. They still he ahuge effect on the music community.

    [Reply]

    Danielle Reply:

    @From France, Why? Aaliyah was a star like all the other artists who have gone. Their families were fine with stuff being released and cause they wanted their loved ones to be remembered by the world and to share their gift with future generations who weren’t on the Earth at the time their loved one was, but can still embrace their gift. So what is up with Aaliyah’s family not wanting anything of Aaliyah’s to be realesed. All that unrealeased music was for the fans. So we must forget about it? She had about so many songs to relases 4 albums it was said. She wanted to work with Sade, Janet Jackson, D’Angelo, Stevie Wonder, MJ, etc. It’s been too long. I respect her family but come on. Other artists can have music and movies relased with the consent of their family and loved ones and she can’t? What the fuck is up with that? The fans also helped in making her famous so why can’t we help her legacy carry on so that future generations will know who Aaliyah was and why she was in important, not just musically, fashion wise and as a role model. It doesn’t seem to me she was some evil person. Even Richard Pryor is getting a biopic? Like come on!

    [Reply]

    Elena Reply:

    @From France, I don’t know what you define as “normal” but most young women did not grow up with record deals, setting trends or recording music that is still relevant and sounds better than 70% of modern mainstream releases. You obviously have no idea what you’re speaking of.

    [Reply]

  10. BEDSTUYFLY

    I like her.

    [Reply]

    Danielle Reply:

    @BEDSTUYFLY, Me too. People need to stop complaining about nonsense. No when will ever be satisfied.

    [Reply]

  11. Hilson Payne

    Everyone know it’s about thise girls nationality. They are not American African and her family don’t want people to get it twisted…When have any African Americans person played as a Hispanic or Caucasians in a movie? Ijs…& I don’t blame her family from wanting another African American representing Aaliyah legacy

    [Reply]

  12. ?

    You go girl! I’m happy somebody picked up the role becuz sometimes a family doesn’t approve because they have trouble letting go of the past. And all this mess about a theater movie. No offense but Aaliyah wasn’t an artist long enough to have movie about her put in theaters. They should just be happy someone’s trying to make a movie about her and if they still want a movie of hers put in theaters they can always make another one in the future.

    [Reply]

    SdotB Reply:

    @?, I don’t understand why some of you are saying “she wasn’t big enough,” or “wasn’t an artist long enough” to have a movie in the theatre…the fact that she was a public figure who was loved by millions and is still widely remembered today is a good reason…

    Why can we have movies that are based on true stories about people who weren’t that famous, but not Aaliyah? They have movies all the time that are inspired about people who weren’t huge celebrities or widely known…as long as they made some impact that’s worth being talked about makes a good story

    [Reply]

  13. Lance

    People are so ignorant. There’s nothing wrong with LifeTime. If this film were being placed on Starz, Cinemax or HBO, all would be well. All this anti-LifeTime shit stems from the stereotypical made-for-tv works that they are known for broadcasting.

    [Reply]

  14. Sebastian

    Black people get a kick out of putting one another down. Aaliyah doesn’t deserve a theatrical release because she wasn’t around for long, huh? Okay. You’d never hear a Mexican person say that about Selena but … again, the day isn’t done for African Americans until we insult and diminish accomplishments of our own, even those of the deceased. Y’all are so classless.

    [Reply]

    From France Reply:

    @Sebastian,
    You don’t need to make it an affair of race!!

    People just give their opinion. It’s not because you’re black that you have to support all the black people in the world…

    It’s RIDICULOUS.

    [Reply]

  15. Mao_the_cat

    who the F is dis bitch?

    [Reply]

  16. Random

    What I don’t understand is why ppl argue on here whether you’re a fan of Aaliyah, Beyoncé, or Rihanna they all offer something different and none of their royalties are being deposited in any of your bank accounts lolololol silly ppl.

    [Reply]

  17. Dnthate

    When Aaliyah died it was big news around the world! Radio DJ’s play her songs back to back in many countries for weeks. I saw people crying randomly in the streets. So I’m glad there making an Aaliyah film. There’s no need to compare her voice or album sales with others, she was just special.

    [Reply]

  18. rickykeys

    Adelephant. You silly moronic twat!!! Aaliyah was the first and only r&b singer at that time who acted, in major movies such as (romeo must die and the mayrix) as well as professionally modelled! So yes she opened many doors. I notice Beyonce and Rihanna have taken advantage of that fact.

    [Reply]

  19. Bobby Down

    She don’t look sh*t like Aaliyah.She look half Chinese .They need to recast.

    [Reply]

  20. _poohbear

    @meme and @DeeJay you are making a fool of your self I mean I understand you guys aren’t big fans of aaliyah but you guys don’t have to go back in forth with people just respect aaliyah music as it is and have class and take the higher road and if they wanna cast this girl then they can it’s not up to you R.I.P aaliyah aka baby girl.

    [Reply]

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