Home Movie Reviews Lifetime’s Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B

[REVIEW] Lifetime’s Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B



By now everyone has seen the Lifetime TV movie, Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B, that premiered this past Saturday on Lifetime. If you haven’t please don’t waste your time. The movie was executive produced by Wendell(Wendy)Williams, she joined the project after Zendaya Coleman dropped out of the production after being cast to play Aaliyah. When I first heard that this was actually a thing, my first thought was why does Aaliyah need a movie? Don’t get me wrong I love Aaliyah to death, she is from my hometown and she was very talented. I also love all of her music, but Aaliyah was just starting to really catapult to super-stardom at the time of her untimely death, and there isn’t much ground to cover. Yes she was destined to do many great things and she was doing greats things at the time her death, but she still had a ways to go before becoming a bonafide icon. I know a lot of people will probably be upset that I said that, but I am going to just put 10 on 20 and say it! When the family didn’t get on board with the production and Aaliyah music couldn’t be cleared for the movie, I knew this project was doomed. On top of that the movie based on biography by a person who didn’t get any input from Aaliyah’s close family or friends, namely her parents or brother.

As much as I wanted to boycott the movie, I tuned in, for fear of missing something. Also it is my duty as an entertainment blogger to watch and report back LOL. I should have gone with my first mind and not watched, because Wendell & Lifetime tried the entire f*ck out of Aaliyah. First let’s talk about the casting, I wasn’t even that mad at the Alexandra Shipp being cast as Aaliyah, after Zendaya Coleman dropped out(best decision of her life) but I was mad. Why? You ask, because Alexandra Shipp isn’t the best actor. Her dancing was uninspired and stiff, the one thing that sticks about Aaliyah is that she was a great dancer. If I were casting someone to play her then that person should be at the least be a good dancer(make sure the bish can dance!). Now I know what you are saying, the actor doesn’t have to look exactly like the person they are portraying as long as they are good actor right? There in lies the problem, but that was the least of my issues with the casting for this movie. At least with the casting for Notorious, the well-known people looked very similar to the actor that portrayed them ,and the unknowns/behind the scenes people we really didn’t care about. In this movie Joe(the singer) was cast to play R. Kelly, because the actor didn’t resemble R. Kelly at all! Then they cast Tweet(the singer) to play Missy Elliott and some other slender guy was cast to play Timbaland. Now if my memory serves me correctly Missy Elliott was wide as all outside back when she began working with Aaliyah and so was Timbaland! That statement was not meant to offend, but the truth is the truth! Were there no actors the more closely resembled Missy and Timbaland? Also Missy was wearing “Hefty Cinch Sacks” and rocking finger waves back then, not Adidas tracks suit and asymmetric hair! Now let’s get to the actor that played Dame Dash,how come no one told me that Chico DeBarge was resurrected from the “career crypt” to play Dame? The casting was all wrong for this movie! The acting was bad! The script was bad! It was just all wrong!

Another problem I had with this movie is that it focused entirely too much on the relationship between 15-year-old Aaliyah and 30 something Robert “R” Kelly. I feel like Wendell was trying to shade R. Kelly instead of telling Aaliyah’s story. I know your saying, “How do you tell Aaliyah’s story without including that?” I feel like there was another way it could have been done without even having an R. Kelly portrayal in the movie. A quick montage of newspaper headlines, and then let’s keep it moving! Yes, the relationship “allegedly” did occur, but that was only a small part of Aaliyah life. The scenes made me very uncomfortable.  After, Age Ain’t Nuthin But A Number(I think R. Kelly was preparing us for his “alleged” future activities and trying to soften the blow with this album title), Aaliyah went into another direction after that whole debacle, she recreated herself. Too much time spent on this relationship, I felt like it was self-serving for Wendy and Lifetime to dig in so deep into the R. Kelly/Aaliyah marriage thing. It was all for ratings and maliciousness, and not to really tell the story of how a girl from Detroit, worked hard to become a superstar. I get that ratings are important and cash rules everything around, but not at the expense of Aaliyah. I honestly feel bad for the actors that were cast because how can you portray a person: 1. you never got to talk to 2. you didn’t get talk to people who were intimately involved with that person.

At the time of her death, Aaliyah was just getting started, and honestly there was not enough material to even create a movie. The movie should have never been made. Then to add insult to injury they didn’t even show the Rock The Boat, choreography, oops I forgot they didn’t have clearance to use it! It was probably for the best, because Alexandra probably would have pissed me off. The documentary that followed the movie, was actually better than the movie itself. The movie didn’t tell us anything that we didn’t already know. It didn’t add anything to Aaliyah’s legacy, it just served to line Wendell and Lifetime’s pocket with money, while dredging up a salacious portion of a young woman’s past. I won’t even waste my time giving this movie a rating, because you can probably get gather from this review that I wasn’t HERE  for it! As one of the many meme’s that lit up Twitter and IG said,”Wendell, Aaliyah gon whoop your ass when she sees you at the crossroads!” The meme below sums up my feeling about the movie:


Aaliyah you left us too soon, but you are not forgotten, I will erase this terrible movie from my memory, because you didn’t deserve this, and it is not a reflection of you or your work.

Whut say you?


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  1. Aaliyah was there before anyone …. There is Diana, Whitney, Janet and then Aaliyah…. She was my junior/senior year sound track … She deserves a movie …. Big Screen …. The Equivalent of the Black Female James Dean…. A star that burned out to soon!


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