Over the weekend, Lifetime aired the controversial biopic Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B, which sparked tons of backlash on social media. One person who was especially upset was Aaliyah’s friend and longtime producer Timbaland, who made his thoughts about the movie clear during an interview on Hot 97s “Ebro in the Morning” on Monday.
After the premiere, Timbaland took to Instagram to share several fan-made memes denouncing the made-for-TV movie, which starred Alexandra Shipp as the late singer.
“Every picture said everything that I would probably say in an interview,” said Timbo. “I thought about it and I was like, ‘The more attention we give this thing, the better it is for them.'”
He was in shock that the film actually made it on air. “It was like, ‘Wow! This is how ya’ll gone really do it? Ya’ll really gon’ put this out?’ I couldn’t believe it. I always thought it was a rumor. I thought it was a joke, but evidently it wasn’t.”
He didn’t watch the film, but fans sent him tons of Instagram memes, which captured his feelings.
While he was outraged, he had no power to stop the movie. “I don’t have no control. I’m just really hired help. We became close, we became a family, that don’t mean that I can control how they do things or their family can control how they do things.”
On behalf of him and Missy Elliott, he denounced the biopic. “I just think that it was done wrong,” he said while calling for fans to take a stand. “Either you support Babygirl and just don’t watch Lifetime. Make a real statement.”
But he stopped short of dissing executive producer Wendy Williams. “I don’t wanna just diss this lady like that. I want to know the full details before I really, really go in. The only thing I know that I can go in is you showing a mockery on TV. And that’s what really bothered me.”
However, he was humbled by all the love from Aaliyah’s fans. “That kind of brought me to tears to see my music and what I’ve put into all these years last this long and have that effect on people,” he said. “I don’t even know if they raved over Michael Jackson the way they rave over Aaliyah.”
Despite the backlash, the film was a ratings bonanza for Lifetime. According to Wendy Williams, Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B was the second-highest rated movie on all of cable this year.
“I see my Aaliyah movie broke the Internet this weekend!” said Williams. “Errbody got an opinion. Well, I must tell you, whether you loved or hate, you watched.”