It has been 13 years since Aaliyah Haughton died tragically in a plane crash at age 22, and earlier this year, it was announced officially that Lifetime would be producing a movie based upon the singer’s life. There was immediately a lot of controversy surrounding the decision – from the fact that it wasn’t a “big screen” movie, to fans not feeling the actress originally cast was right for the role. But it wasn’t long before talk show maven Wendy Williams jumped on board as an executive producer, and the entire project was fast-tracked.
This week we got our first glimpse of Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B, which will debut on November 15, 2014. The movie will star Alexandra Shipp, a gorgeous young actress who is also starring in upcoming films Drumline 2: A New Beat and F. Gary Gray’s NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton (can’t wait!). Wendy Williams confirmed on her show last week that the movie will address Aaliyah’s relationships with R.Kelly and Dame Dash, amongst other things.
Had she lived, Aaliyah would have been 35-years-old now. Are we really ready to see her story play out on screen (for better or worse), or do we just want to remember her as she was in our minds? I’m still on the fence about it… what do you think?
Watch the trailer and read more about the film below.
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Synopsis from Lifetime: Before Beyoncé and before Rihanna, self-proclaimed “street but sweet” Aaliyah was poised to become a global icon with top-selling albums, a hot movie career and an adoring fan base. The film follows the beautiful and talented performer’s inspirational journey, from her debut on “Star Search” at the age of ten to the challenges she faced during her rise to become the Princess of R&B. On August 25, 2001, at the height of her popularity, her life was tragically cut short when a plane carrying the singer and some of her video crew crashed after takeoff from a Bahamian runway. Although just 22-years-old at the time of her death, Aaliyah continues to lead a legacy as Billboard’s tenth most famous R&B artist of the past 25 years and one of the recording industry’s most successful artists in history.
Multi-talented actress and singer/songwriter Alexandra Shipp starred as KT Rush in the Nickelodeon series House of Anubis. Additional credits include the upcoming film Drumline 2: A New Beat, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, Ray Donovan, Victorious, Switched at Birth and Awkward. Shipp is currently filming Universal Pictures’ Straight Outta Compton.
Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B also stars Rachael Crawford (The Man) and Sterling Jarvis (The Sentinel) as Aaliyah’s parents Diane and Mike Haughton; A.J. Saudin (Degrassi, The Next Generation) as Aaliyah’s brother Rashad Haughton; and Lyriq Bent (Saw IV) as her uncle and music manager Barry Hankerson. The film also stars Anthony Grant as Damon Dash, Izaak Smith (Mirror, Mirror) as Timbaland, Elise Neal (The Soul Man) as Gladys Knight and Chattrisse Dolabaille (Home Away) as Missy Elliot.
Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B is produced by Aaliyah Productions, Inc. Howard Braunstein (The Informant!) Debra Martin Chase (The Princess Diaries, Sparkle) and Wendy Williams (Wendy Williams Show) serve as executive producers. Steve Solomos serves as producer. Bradley Walsh (Turn the Beat Around) directs from a script written by Michael Elliot (Brown Sugar).