The network issued a statement over the weekend saying “We are sad Zendaya will no longer portray Aaliyah, and production is currently on hold.”
Zendaya’s casting was revealed on June 16th and immediately caused a backlash among some fans who thought the actress’ look was too ambiguous.
Coleman, who is biracial (half black/half white), took issue with the many complaints and petitions that were lodged against her online, saying she self-identifies as black and that color should have no bearing on who plays the singer.
Zendaya’s rep didn’t blame the casting backlash for the young star’s decision to step down from the role. However, anyone with common sense knows better.
Entertainment Weekly said production problems and Lifetime’s inability to acquire the rights to Aaliyah’s musical catalog were more than likely the reason why Zendaya chose to walk away from the role.
Whatever the case, the film is now back to square one and the hunt for a more suitable Aaliyah will again commence.