Zendaya on why she left the Aaliyah biopic: ‘The production value wasn’t there’


Zendaya Coleman has been a household name in my house for years. She can sing and dance, and she’s a positive role model. Zendaya’s only 17 years old, but she’s very well spoken and intelligent. She recently came under fire after capturing the role of Aaliyah in a Lifetime biopic. She gracefully responded to criticism that she wasn’t “black enough” to play Baby Girl.

Zendaya eventually dropped out of the film for unknown reasons. I suspected that Z decided a Lifetime movie wasn’t worth all the abuse she was receiving. Aaliyah’s family has also been opposed to the movie, and the music rights are a mess. Zendaya has been replaced by Alexandra Shipp (a Nickelodeon actress) in the Aaliyah role. You can see a photo of Shipp here. May she have better luck with this project. The pressure is off Zendaya, and she decided to open up in a series of videos on Instagram. Here’s what Z had to say:

“Let me just explain something. The reason why I chose not to do the Aaliyah movie has nothing to do with the haters or people telling me I couldn’t do it or wasn’t talented enough or I wasn’t black enough. It had absolutely nothing to do with that. The main reason was because the production value wasn’t there. There were complications with the music rights, and I felt like it just wasn’t being handled delicately, considering the situation. And I tried my best to reach out to the family on my own. And I wrote a letter, but I was unable to do so. Therefore I felt not really morally okay with moving forward with the project. With all that being said, congratulations to the new woman playing Aaliya. I only hope she does not have to deal with half the heat that I had to deal with. And remember that we are all human beings trying to do what we love to do. Let’s practice motivation and love, not discrimination and hate.”

[From Zendaya Coleman on Instgram]

There you have it. Zendaya felt the pressure, but she still wanted to portray her idol. When she couldn’t contact Aaliyah’s family, Z felt conflicted. Bad production values on the part of Lifetime led to Zendaya’s ultimate decision to drop out. This was a wise move, and there will be much better roles in the future. Zendaya even took time to congratulate her replacement, which was pure class.

Here’s a photo of Z with her dad, Kazembe Ajamu, who has stood next to his daughter through this whole process.



Photos courtesy of WENN

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79 Responses to “Zendaya on why she left the Aaliyah biopic: ‘The production value wasn’t there’”

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  1. Abbott says:

    It’ll be interesting to see where she ends up in about 5 years when she hits that age where the tweeners turn into messes. She seems like a good kid.

    • Soylent says:

      Seems like is the operative word she’s just as precocious as the Jenner girls. She also is a tremendous diva from first hand experience. YIKES nothing like an entitled teen in the morning to ruin your day.

  2. ViktoryGin says:

    Nice statement. Now if only Zoe Saldana had had that much awareness and concern….

  3. Lucretia says:

    I saw Zendaya on the awful show with Tim Gunn (forget the name–the one with mentors) and was impressed by her maturity. This statement is a very savvy way of getting out of a bad situation. (I’m also thinking of Zoe Saldana and the Nina Simone biopic.)

    • FLORC says:

      Was it “Under The Gunn”? That’s the only Gunn show I can think of that isn’t Runway.

      It was a good statement. She seems to be surrounded by a good team oor she’s just got her head on right. Or both.

      I wonder if Aaliyah’s family just refused to contact her just out of stubborn behavior. I can understand not wanting the music to be used in a biopic about a singer, but to just ignore her outright? Seems like the least they could do was give a letter back stating it was a lifetime production and those are never great. Instead they said nothing and it seems they thought she was too white as well (imo).

      • T.C. says:


        Aliyah’s family has gone on the record several times to say they don’t want these TV biopics made about her. I think VH1 also tried. These TV biopics always try to get into sleeze to attract viewers and they don’t want to see Aliyah remembered that way. Zendaya says she is a big fan of Aliyah’s so it’s surprising she didn’t know that when she signed on the dotted line or her agent didn’t tell her ahead of time about Lifetime not having approval from the family or rights to the songs. That’s kind of basic information you would have before signing on to a project so I can see Aliyah’s family just rolling their eyes at her letter. To them she’s just another actress using a beloved family member to rise up in Hollywood. So I can’t really blame the family for not responding but I do give Z credit for at least attempting.

    • MaiGirl says:

      Agreed, but the family is pretty delusional about what could really happen with Aaliyah’s story. They want a big screen adaptation, which is crazy when we consider that Aaliyah’s fame was fairly short-lived, and her music (though popular in its day) doesn’t have that much staying power. Ask anyone under 25 who she is and they probably don’t know. Also, the family wants to pretend the marriage to R Kelly never happened, when it totally did.

      I never felt that Z wasn’t black enough, and I support her reasons for turning down the role, but I’m not sure how smart it is to trash the quality of the film. I’m sure it will be budget and bootsy, and most Lifetime movies are, but it seems like she might piss off some producers with these statements, so I’m thinking maybe she should have kept quiet.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        YES! I am so glad someone finally said it!
        Aaliyah’s family might want her story told in a big movie, but honestly, it just doesn’t support a feature film version.

        IMO, her family should support the Lifetime movie because it would expose her music to new YOUNG people who might buy it. A feature film might pull in middle aged people that were fans back in the day, but that is a very limited demographic, and not nearly enough people to support the costs of a film. I don’t think teens and young adults that haven’t heard Aaliyah would buy a ticket and spend two hours in a theater on someone they don’t know. Putting a Disney/Nickelodeon star in an easily accessible TV movie would make it easier for the target demo to hear her music.

      • MaiGirl says:

        Totally agree, Tiffany. I liked a lot of her music, but would never pay theater prices to see her biopic. A tv movie would help introduce her to new fans, for sure.

  4. MrsBPitt says:

    She is so pretty! I watched her on dancing with the stars and she seemed like a very mature 17 year old, with very loving, supportive patents! Hopefully, she will get some better offers….

  5. Britt says:

    I usually don’t believe blind items but the one that blind gossip about how she was actually fired and didn’t leave seems spot on.

    • Mae says:


    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      Even if she was fired and allowed to say she left, she handled the situation very well.

      • T.C. says:

        Problem is I don’t think she has handled it well (or rather her stage father hasn’t). She keeps commenting to this with every new development giving credit to the rumour that her team is using this to get her more media attention outside of her Disney fans.

        Why does she need to comment now that her replacement should be getting the attention? Why is she going on about discrimination again when Black women have already gone on the record to say they just want their image as Black women to be represented. Her father might be married now to a White Woman but a Black one gave birth to him and I’m sure he has a Black sister who can explain to him this issue. He doesn’t care, just want his daughter to become more famous and bring in $$$ to the family.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Well, you may be right. I don’t know much about it except what I’ve read on here.

      • lilac says:

        I think she has handled it well. If she had told the truth she would have gotten a lot more support and the movie would have lost potential viewers.

      • Naye in VA says:

        @ T.C I feel she has every right to address the racial issue. If “black” women can go on record so can she. She’s Black too. I didnt relaize that being bi-racial meant you werent Black. I”m Black and both of my parents are Black, but I’m light-skinned and Im sure that means that someone down the line had to be bi-racial. I’ve been incensed over this whole thing because it is a certain type of discrimination within our culture. Darker-skinned Blacks feel maligned because mainstream media would rather fairer and good haired Black represent them, but THAT is not the issue of the person that has been chosen for the role but rather an issue of America itself. I feel similarly when I see commercials and there is a go-to rather than a fully realized spectrum but where was all this animosity when Halle Berry was getting all the roles. Why shouldnt this girl be allowed to address, what I myself feel, is a ridiculous double standard within our community? It was disgusting all the things that were being said to her. We are not a self-sustaingin culture, no matter what shade we are or what heritage we have, when we step out on the street we are BLACK to any white person that sees us. This is the type of division that slave owners used, that “brown paper bag” women used, that media is using today to continue to divide us, and look how we feed into it smdh.

        And I say this as somebody who grew up with a rich knowledge of my Black history, with parents that participated during the civil rights movement, and as someone who has spawned and “all black” child. Ridiculousness.

      • Belinda says:

        She lost all credibility with me when she tried to use Angella Bassets casting as Tina to make her point. Angela was darker skinned than Tina, afterall. That she, rather than say Stacey Dash or Rae Dawn Chong or even Halle Berry got that part was amazing! Now I happen to like Halle (not so much the other two) but its clear that she is viewed more palatable in the mainstream than Angela Bassett because the blackness is “diluted”. That this child would even bring up Angela/Tina is proof that she is completely tone deaf. She just didnt get it.

        I’m not familiar with her work but hey lets be real, she’ll be fine. (As fine as a light skinned black actress can be anyway, which while worse than a blonde blue eyed girl is still better than a darker skinned WoC). There’ll be other parts.

      • jaye says:

        I’m sorry, but what the hell does this issue with his daughter have ANYTHING to do with him being married to a white woman? As a black woman, I don’t feel devalued because a black man dates or marries a non-black woman. What he or anyone else eats doesn’t make me sh*t. Bitching about black men dating non-black women isn’t going to stop it from being a reality.

      • Naye in VA says:

        @Belinda, I agree she may have been a bit tone-deaf with that statement, but people were coming at her and referencing her skin tone. At which point her comment was on target. The bigger issue of WoC representation came on the tail end of that downward spiral. As a 17 year old who has lived a mostly charmed life, I dont really expect her to understand the full issue that surrounds her casting, much less address the deeply rooted issue that caused such a response, a response I still find overwhelmingly full of self-hatred of our own people. We were fighting for roles for Black women, now we’re fighting for roles for darker skinned black women? I dont remember when we started getting enough roles in Hollywood period that we could start trippin about what exact skin tone represents us, and IM SORRY that my light-skinned doesnt represent you to your satisfaction, but Im STILL BLACK and my EXPERIENCE is still the SAME. If we want media to understand that we come in all colors, why aren’t we actually doing the same. How can we spew such negativity to one of OUR OWN?!

      • andypandy says:

        The fact that you are using the word ” good hair ” ? In 2014 speaks volumes

      • T.C. says:

        @Naye in VA
        “no matter what shade we are or what heritage we have, when we step out on the street we are BLACK to any white person that sees us. This is the type of division that slave owners used, that “brown paper bag” women used, that media is using today to continue to divide us, and look how we feed into it smdh.”

        I do understand where you are coming from but using the one-drop rule to claim every Biracial person is Black is equally racist. The Black community has always being open minded to anyone who wants to claim Black but I don’t think it’s self sustaining. Biracial actresses are being used by Hollywood to replace Black ones especially in roles calling for sexy characters because they have Eurocentric features and Hollywood can keep passing on the myth that Black women are not sexy. Same thing happens when young actresses are cast to play older women because older actresses are apparently lacking in sex appeal. Look who Z was replaced by, another Biracial actress. When a Biopic is made of Beyoncé, they will hire a Biracial actress not even a light-skin Black actress. Black actresses are only needed when they need a slave, a blue collar worker, a drug addict etc despite the many Black women in high positions of power including one married to George Lucas.

        Z is 50% Black and 50% White. She LOOKS visually Biracial walking down the street. She could be Selena Gomez sister. Why isn’t she going to casting calls for White characters as well as Black? She CHOSE to audition for this part and take the job (before getting fired) knowing full well that Aliyah was a Black woman. There are many little Black girls taking acting lessons and doing stage work who are as talented or more than Z.

      • Naye in VA says:

        Shut your irrelevance up. What you want me to walk around saying “slightly less coiled”? If you want to know my hair nappy as shit and I wear it like that and have no problems with the terms “good” or “bad” hair, I like my hair. Stay on topic.

      • Naye in VA says:

        @TC the argument is already dead when you dont consider a woman that is bi-racial as Black. She shouldnt have taken the role because her mother is white? Why? I know plenty of bi-racial women who are darker than she and I, and had that woman been cast nobody would have been saying ANYTHING about her heritage. Thats my problem here. People can make the argument all they want that she doesnt look the part, that’s fair. But to say she sould be denied the role because of her background is ludicrous. It makes sense if you are casting for a role where the culture of a person is historically significant, like a white person playing a Native American or a Hispanic person playing a Black person, but the fact of the matter is that girl is BLACK. Im tired of people trotting out the one drop rule, the girl aint an eighth, she aint passing, she’s BLACK, she IS one of ours. Number two, I thought the bigger issue here was that we arent being given roles that arent specific to the “black story”. Thought we wanted to see ourselves portrayed as normal people with normal lives, just like our white counterparts, instead of biopics and movies about “the struggle” Choose a battle. Imagine having a mixed child and raising that child to be proud of her Black heritage and where she came from and understand the steps it took to get these bare freedoms we have, have her work hard as shit to be successfull and then have ignorant people saying “shes not black ENOUGH” to play a Black person. O that’s fair huh? That’s how we develop hatred within our community. Congrats on widening the divide ya’ll that’s EXACTLY how they want it.

      • Naye in VA says:

        HONESTLY I used to get upset back in the day over bi-racial women. Serously I couldnt stand Halle Berry just because she got all the roles, and was mediocre, and mixed. Same with Zoe Saldana. She isnt even actually African American. But then I realized that hangup what because it made me feel inferior. I felt like of course men are gonna want these women, and media is going to want these women, and where does that leave us? But you know what? At some point I realized that like it or not, I still identified with these women. They are still black and it’s a numbers game, and we are going to get absolutely NOWHERE tearing each other down. Why drag a young woman down from a role instead of demanding that there be MORE roles? Why take issue with the casting of a movie about a black person that isnt going to make ANY OTHER BLACK PEOPLE ANY MONEY? LLS It’s a white mans movie?!

      • T.C. says:

        @Naye in VA

        “It makes sense if you are casting for a role where the culture of a person is historically significant, like a white person playing a Native American or a Hispanic person playing a Black person, but the fact of the matter is that girl is BLACK”

        Wait what? Aliyah was a real life historical figure who was Black. She wasn’t a fictional person and she was not Biracial. Her Blackness IS important culturally and there are a LOT of light-skinned young Black actresses who could play that part. Biracial people in most countries are recognized as their own cultural group because they are by genetics a separate group. The U.S. classified them as Black due to the racist “one-drop” rule because the government at that time didn’t want anyone who wasn’t 100% White to have any legal rights, rights to inheritance of property from their White fathers or the right to sit down to Tea in public with their White mothers. Being considered Black when equally White is intended to keep the White race pure and Biracials to lose rights they should have had by birth.

        When the day that Biracial actresses are cast to play both White and Black characters is when there will be equality.however as of now, Black actresses are supposed to take one for the team by remaining unemployed while Biracial actresses take roles meant for them. White actresses don’t have to take one for the team by stepping down for a Biracial actresses. It doesn’t matter your shade, if you are Biracial you should be cast for White roles too. I would love to see how “fine” White women would be with that and if they would also be called over-sensitive.

      • Naye in VA says:

        @TC If you are biracial you are not “white” plain and simple I dont know a bi-racial person who has ever identified as purely white unless they were living deep in denial. The point is bi-racial is BLACK. A Biracial person, unless they are passing and LYING will never be cast as a white person. So we should deny them being cast as black too? Because that is RACISM. And I dont know if you noticed but most Black people have a white person in the mix somewhere. I need you to define for me where the line is drawn for “just black” bcuz my brother is 1/4 mexican. Is he black enough for you? Im 1/32 Choctaw. Am I not Black enough for you? My mother looks every bit of Native American (BOTH of her parents were “full Black). How would you feel about her playing a Black woman if you didnt know her heritage. It’s a dumb argument that bi-racial woman aren’t Black. You can argue for sull spectrum representation but you cant do it on the merits of bi-racial babies not being “black enough” Its SICK.

        AND dumb. Lets choose representation for acting parts SOLELY off the race given my the parents on the birth certificate and THEN go back to THIER parents to see just how much of a particular race THEY had to match up every single role….Thats why the argument doesnt hold up, because people can take it there, to that level of specificity. The girl is BLACK plain and simple. If she were darker skinned and you didnt know she was biracial I bet you wouldnt ask for her “black ” credentials now would you?

      • andypandy says:

        Actually your use of “good hair” is very much on topic your imputing quality/value (good better best) to hair texture indicates whether you want to accept or not that you have internalized Eurocentric standards of beauty
        /goodness which is at the heart of colorism.
        Till today I have refrained from commenting here re this topic as I suspect many on this forum have neither the history / social context to understand colorism in the media and its impact
        You have however commented numerous times (not just today) and each time you have framed the issue of colorism in a very divisive way when it is fact an inclusive one in that it’s not about denying light skin/biracials their blackness its recognize that as BW we come in varying shades and it is no longer acceptable for us to be Disproportionally represented by one end of the color spectrum. Frankly its people like you why we will never have an honest discussion about this topic as it always devolves into victimhood and perpetuates the faulty trope of the Mean jealous BW beating up on the itty pretty light skin girl (Your posts circle me me me what about me and my family and rings of the same tone deafness you often hear when trying to discuss white privilege with some people)
        This is not about that time when some dark girls were mean to you at school this is about an institutionalized media practice of always going for the lighter more racially ambiguous woman even if the woman as in the case Aaliyah is Already light .Colorism is real its pervasive and its marginalizes the MAJORITY of BW it’s not about oh she a few shades lighter lets b1tch about it

      • T.C. says:

        @Naye VA

        ” If you are biracial you are not “white” plain and simple I dont know a bi-racial person who has ever identified as purely white unless they were living deep in denial. The point is bi-racial is BLACK.”

        So if you are 50% Black and 50% White you are not White but Black? And if you choose to claim White you are delusional but if you claim Black you are accurate? Wow. You have managed to truly stun me. LOL. So I guess Z was given birth to by an Alien not a White woman. Apparently only her father’s genes matter in her identity.

        Sucks for the woman who carried her in her womb for 9 months and most likely took care of her daily for 17 years.

      • Jenny12 says:

        Naye, baby girl, love you. Seriously. Love you, love you, love you. It’s amazing that these people who stand for Obama, calling him our black president, forget that he’s a biracial man. This girl has every right to consider herself black, has every right to go out for black roles. They’re going to hire her for white people roles? Yeah, because she looks so white. Yes, Hollywood sucks ass and they’re racist and not interested in darker skin tones, but hollering at a teenager over her skin tone is just freaking evil. What will it prove if she doesn’t go out for black roles? She will never hear the end of it: “Aw, she thinks she’s white.” Biracials go for black roles in Hollywood because none of those idiots are hiring them for white roles, and we don’t look white. We just don’t. I don’t know how to change Hollywood because they’re just rotten, but going at biracials for not being black enough isn’t how to do it. You want to complain that Obama isn’t black enough to be our world leader? Aaliyah was light skinned, too, and this girl somewhat resembled her.

      • On the Rhine says:

        Belinda your comments about light skin being better, sound very racist…sorry if I read it wrong, but your comment about Angela Bassett is a bit mean. She’s stunning.
        Also Blackness diluted? WTF does that mean?….sorry, some of your comments are just plain racist.
        Also if Halle Berry had not informed the world she had parentage of black and white , Im not sure many people would have known.
        When I saw Halle in boomerang and JungleFever movie, I just thought she was a nice looking black actress, PERIOD!
        Beyoncé , Rihanna look more mixed racially than Halle to me and these ladies are black women.. Not that it matters, but I just wish skin tone in this day and age was not such an issue.
        I actually think Zendeya(sp?) could have played Alliyah, if she has the talent to do it. She is young, she has years ahead and she will do just fine most likely in other parts.
        Sorry for rant.

      • Naye in VA says:

        @ TC last bit. I actually asked a few weeks ago all my friends who had bi-racial children, what their child would identify as. ALL of them said Black. ALL of them (including those who were non-black) said that their child would be raised with a distinct awareness of their Black culture. One said “if I ever considered that an issue I wouldnt have chosen to have a baby with this man”. I just dont understand. 100 years ago ALL black women light and dark were treated like s***. Disgusting mainstream has taken a liking to the lighter of us so now we are the enemy? All of us have someone who was bi-racial in their background. When you can show me somebody who is FULL black (African American) without a drop of another race I will consider your argument. Until then, it’s ridiculous.

        @andypandy I repeatedly have said that I dont think its fair for light skinned women to be the only representation of us. But honestly they arent. I see bi-racial women mostly in commercials. But on television as I have said, unless its some random, a lot of “full black” actresses are getting play at least on the television i watch. The problem is roles being written for Black women period. Aaliyah was LIGHT SKINNED so if we are arguing about representation the girl was perfect, people are upset that she is BIRACIAL. And I used good hair, again, because I didnt feel like typing a bunch of nonsense to get my point across. This whole converstaion IS divisive. When you start telling other Black women to step down because of their lineage what exactly do you think is happening? If I talk about ME ME ME and my family its because I come from a family that is full spectrum. Both of my parents happen to be darker than me but lo and behold some of that BIRACIAL in my background popped out and im the lightest one in my family. I didnt say anything about my experiences with darker skinned people having an issue with my being yellow because……NOBODY HAD ONE. So im not crying from being picked on Im pissed because another girl is being told she isnt BLACK ENOUGH. Why cant you see how wrong that is? Its just as wrong as Hollywoods standards. ITS ALL DIVISIVE! Applaud black women who get roles and fight for more. Dont bring one down just becuase you DONT THINK SHES GOOD ENOUGH TO REPRESENT YOU. WE ARE ALL IN THIS BATTLE TOGETHER!!!! Yeesh.

      • Jenny12 says:

        Like I said, Naye… love you. Thank you for knowing that all of us are equal despite pigmentation. People want to jump at you and scream racism, but if they hear you’re black or biracial, they can’t, so they go at you another way. People’s experiences count because that’s what they know. I know a family who is 100% boriquena, but the mom is light skinned (like Zendaya) and the dad is blond and blue eyed, despite being from the Island itself. Does he have to play white because he looks it? Is he less Puerto Rican because he doesn’t look typically Puerto RIcan? They have 5 kids: 2 look like the mom and the others look like the dad. Biracial people can rarely play white because they just don’t look it for the most part. But the thing with biracials, at least in my experience, is that we’re not white enough, not black enough, too dark, too light, think we’re white, don’t know we’re not white and on and on. Apparently, we should lay down and die because we don’t fit the mold that people have.

  6. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    Very impressive young woman. I wish her the best.

  7. T.C. says:

    The gossip on the urban blogs were that she was actually fired by LifeTime but they allowed her to say face by using the “poor production values” excuse.

    No one is discriminating against her, Black women are just sick of their Black idols being played by Biracial women instead of the many Black actresses out there who are struggling to get a job. Aaliyah was a Black woman dispelling the media myth that Black women can’t be hot and sexy. Zendaya is half White too but let’s see how White women would feel about her trying to play famous White women like Anna Nicole Smith or Grace Kelly. In fact let’s have Biracial women or really fair skinned Black actresses play 80% of roles written for White actresses and see how that flies with White audiences. Black women have a right to protest the exclusion of their image it’s not just some personal agenda about Zendaya. As can be seen, her replacement is also Biracial. There is an agenda out there by the media.

    It would be good if she read up on the discrimination Black actresses like Viola Davis and Angela Basett have faced just because they have typical Black features and no Eurocentric looks.

    • Allie says:

      I’m sorry but you couldn’t come with anyone but Anna Nicole Smith as a famous white person? Bahaha made me laugh.

      I wouldnt care if a bi racial girl played an iconic white woman, but I’m also not black and I can’t tell you how to feel. I don’t get blaming her though.

      • T.C. says:


        You simply have to read the threads on Jennifer Lawrence being too young to play her last two roles that yes White women just like Black women have problems with Hollywood’s agenda of only young and pale-skinned actresses are cast to play sexy parts.

        I will bet you a Billion dollars that if tomorrow casting of up to 80% of White parts were taken up by Biracial or very light-skin Black women that White women would be upset. Everyone likes to see their image represented whether Black, White, young or old. I hate when Black women are continuously being shut down as too sensitive or racist when they too would like to see their image represented. This upcoming Star Wars film will be the first time that any Black woman will have a speaking part in a Star Wars film.

        To others: this is not about Black enough, this is about a systemic attempt to wipe the face of Brown and Black women from media representation of beauty and attractiveness. Black women today are mainly represented as Biracial or very light-skinned. You don’t see all of White women in the media represented as only pale blonds with blue eyes do you? Biracial women are also 50% White, Asian, Hispanic, etc. yet they are never cast to play White, Asian or Hispanic because of the one-drop rule from slavery and Jim Crow rules. Our society as a whole including some Black keep this racist rule alive so Black women can be represented by them. Yes there is a difference between a Black woman and a Biracial woman, just as there is a difference between a White woman and a Biracial one.

      • Jenny12 says:

        So, TC, where you want us to go? Drop off the face of the earth? Don’t go for black roles, don’t look white enough for those white roles, what should we do? Sorry our parents fell in love and made us. The world is full of biracial kids at this point. You’re lecturing black women on how to feel!? Telling biracials that they’re not black enough to play black? Why don’t you tell Zendaya’s African daddy that his kid isn’t black enough? Oh, wait- someone once said on CB that biracials should just play biracials. Those roles come along all. the TIME! Yeah, Hollywood blows, but picking on people for not being dark enough to try to get roles is just WRONG. Is our president black enough to count for being a black president, or you want him to step aside for someone darker?

    • lilac says:

      I am black I think it is just an excuse and I am frankly offended by the not black enough comments. Plus the new girl is also biracial. I know that dark skinned women don’t get the roles that other actresses get but how is this Zendaya’s fault.

      • jaye says:


      • T.C. says:


        “Plus the new girl is also biracial.”

        My point exactly. A real life sex symbol who was Black has to apparently be played by a Biracial actress for the mainstream audience to buy that she was hot since Black actresses can not be hired to play sexy. Where are these Biracial actresses when they need a Black actress to play a hooker, a slave, a maid or other not so glamours roles?

        Hollywood has set up a myth that masculine roles are for tall and dark when it comes to men. When you see Black males leading shows or movies they are usually Brown or dark Black, not Biracial. The Myth of the attractive feminine is small and pale. When you see women in these roles they are usually White, Biracial or light- skin. Rarely Brown or Black which is the skintone of majority of Blacks across the world. You can also see this bias in casting Asian, Hispanic and Indian women.

    • Jay says:

      I think this girl looks much more similar to Aaliyah than she does to Anna Nicole Smith. Come on now, that example was simply ridiculous. So should biracial women never be allowed to play the roles of full black or full white women just because their skin is a couples shades too light or too dark? You say no one is discriminating against her, but it sure sounds like you are.

    • Nevermindme says:

      @T.C. I respectfully disagree with some of the comments you made. First A.Bassett is not a good example of lack of roles for Black women. If you compare Bassett skin tone and features to V. Davis it’s obvious that Angela has European features. At her height of fame Bassett was considered a top actress starring alongside people like Deniro and Ralph Fienne. As she got older the roles became few and that happens to just about all aging actresses of all races.

      No matter how you slice it Zandaya is Black, though biracial. Aaliyah was a light skinned Black woman and I remember when people thought she was biracial. So how are Black women protesting the exclusion of their image when we as Black women come in all shades.

      Halle Berry is biracial and she played a Black woman, Dorothy Dandrige. What makes one biracial Black woman more deserving than another biracial Black woman?

      I also read those urban blogs and they just sould like the usual haters. Maybe it has a lot to do with people of the same race hating on people who skin is lighter. Like I said Aaliyah herself was a light skinned Black woman. Wouldn’t be a good fit if Kelly Rowland played her.

      • Naye in VA says:

        By this line of thinking our Black President doesnt actually count. We’re still losing yeesh.

      • Belinda says:

        Angela Bassett is by far the most talented actress of her generation, black or white. That she was able to helm to major hits by herself (HSGHGB and WLGTDWI) is proof of her amazing potential. But guess what? She spent most of her prime on stage because the kinds of film parts on offer were suvh a pathetic joke. So while Hollywood churned out leading parts of Demi Moore types, Angela was on Broadway. I find it hilarious that you would look through her work and not see how short changed she was.

        (Special mention for DeNiro who consistently fought for black female castings. Alot of people dont realise that theres a reason why so many of his older films had him cast romantically opposite a black woman.)

      • Naye in VA says:

        But to me there is a huge difference in us arguing for roles to be given to Black women over white women, than black women over….slightly less Black women. Thats whats actually being said right now, thats what it amounts to….slightly less Black. We arent satisfied unless we have a full background of your Black lineage? We need a Black card now? There are some bi-racial children who look clearly bi-racial and others that you would never be able to tell, and nobody would make a fuss over. Lauren London is bi-racial. Couldnt tell. Sophie Okonedo is biracial and played Rwandan (dont know if thats how you say it). Nobody complains about Lisa Bonet playing the child of two black parents. And here is the really interesting part about the Cosby Show. They had children of ALL shades. Because it happens. Because that is representative of our community. Im fine with being represented by somebody BLACK at least. No Im not find with them being ONLY fair complected, but thats not entirely true. It happens a lot, it seems knee jerk but its not even the PREVELANCE I see plenty more darker skinned actresses in high profile roles than straight-up European looking ones, unless they are trying to pass them as racially ambiguous. Most of the black actresses I see on shows I WANT to see, are the Tarajis’ and the Eylse’s and the Anika’s and the Gabrielles and the Kerry’s

      • Nevermindme says:

        @Belinda are you serious with that hilarious comment. I did say at the height of her popularity she was one of the top actresses. Sure you can say she was shortchanged but she has a lot of work under her belt as oppose to some. And she’s still working. Where’s Demi now since you want to compare the two.? Also a lot of actors Black or White have worked on Broadway. It doesn’t change or make me not stand by my previous comment any less.

    • ClassyPuss says:

      T.C. Ugh ENOUGH already! So WHAT? I’m black and not butt hurt about talented & humble people getting work, regardless of their skin tone! Nate is right, pulling this black card stuff is stupid and removes us from the right discussion – remembering a legendary R&B star. We as the black community should celebrate that, not bicker over damn micro-shades of color! Zendaya was smart to leave the project and hopefully the new actress will do the role justice (though without the family’s blessing this project is doomed).

    • On the Rhine says:

      But African America is really mixed racially in the US, it’s just a fact and part of history. Since the 1600′s many African American family’s had one white or Native American member and children produced, who continued to marry into African American families. So no one is racially pure. So to single Zendeya out is just hypocrisy.
      Even Malcom X was a product of a African American and white crossing into his familial line.

      I even remember Mexican complaints about JLO playing Selina, because she is Puerto Rican and Puerto Ricans have African bloodlines(even if it’s not discussed. It was said there was a African great grand in one of JLOs background.
      America is built on a mixture of races, ethnicities.

  8. Talie says:

    I think what happened to her is BS. Too light skinned? Please…

    It’s ironic Wendy Williams was brought on as a producer (read: solely to build hype on her highly rated talk show) because Wendy was one of Z’s biggest supporters.

  9. Guest says:

    Aaliyah’s parents do not want a movie of her life in which Wendy Williams is a executive producer. It will be a gossipers dream and vulgarity for proper people.
    Nina Simone’s daughter did not want Zoe because she said that her mother would not have wanted Zoe in the role. She laughed in their face when they asked for the music rights.
    The families of these two famous black women do not want the people involved telling their life stories and that is where the real outrage should be not some nonsense of colourism.
    Not all black folks are self-haters. We are all individuals.

    • jaye says:

      I don’t blame Aaliyah’s family for not wanting to be associated with a Wendy Williams production. She’s said some pretty vile things about Aaliyah when she (Wendy Williams) had her radio show.

      • Jezi says:

        Not to mention Wendy Williams is going to tarnish what Aaliyah made of her career by focusing on her relationships and the scandals. There was way more to that young woman then her marriage to R. Kelly. Shame!

    • claire says:

      I was conflicted about this film being made. Now that I know Wendy Williams is the Executive Producer I firmly believe the family has very valid reasons for not wanting this made. Wendy does not do anything in good taste.

  10. Guest says:

    To be more specific; if the families in both cases said no their wishes should be honoured. The story being told is not one in which Nina Simone’s dream of being the first black classical pianist was being thwarted because she did not look like Zoe; instead some nonsense of her being in love with her homosexual nurse. In the other case there is Wendy Williams – need I say more.

  11. Naomi says:

    I read her statement and it is gracious and I believe genuine until she got to the part about the production values. There is nothing I have read about this project that has ever said quality. The only plus for her would be exposure and the chance to portray her idol. Her management team should never have involved her in this project. All this was avoidable silliness.

  12. Hissyfit says:

    Girl, quit lying. You were fired.

    • jaye says:

      Why would Lifetime fire her, though? She has name recognition, which translates into viewers. The new young lady doesn’t have that going for her. It couldn’t be due to her acting, she’s a decent actress and let’s face it…it’s Lifetime. And if the “urban blogs” are Media Takeout or Bossip, I’m giving the fired story a hard side eye.

    • TheOneandOnlyOnly says:

      Isn’t that rich coming from someone that appears on a Disney show, and would be unknown but for that crap channel.

  13. Shelley says:

    I did not want her in the role because she looks NOTHING like Aaliyah and she simply doesn’t have the swag to play such a role. I don’t watch kiddies programmes so I have never seen her act. I won’t comment on her talent or lack thereof to pull off such a role.

  14. ScrewStewrat99 says:

    I don’t quite get why people would think she was fired. She was replaced with another biracial light skinned person, which is why this poor girl has gotten so much crap. Plus why would lifetime let her blame the production value of the film? They would be insulting their own production. What kind of business move is that? I think she quit and I think the issues surrounding her are sad. I can’t imagine how she must feel not being white enough or black enough for people. She just can’t win and it’s just so sad that skin color is still a major issue in todays world.

  15. ToodySezHey says:

    Lifetime would have fired her due to the backlash over her casting. Forget the skin tone argument, most folks were just mad that this girl looked nothing like aaliyah. At least when Angela Bassett was cast as tina she was already an established actress with good acting chops..but lifetime went and cast some relative unknown who looks more like selena gomez than aaliyah. Imagine the backlash if from the Hispanic community if lifetime hired viola Davis to play Rita Moreno in a biopic?

    The backlash was fierce and immediate as soon as her casting was announced.

  16. Racer says:

    Its 2014 people. The purpose of an actress is to embody the role she is playing. Good acting has nothing to do with color, shade of color or parental ethnicity.

  17. andypandy says:

    I wonder how long it will take President Obamas name to come up LOL it usually does in these discussions He may identify socially as black that doesn’t change the fact that he has both a white and Black parent and is in fact bi-racial and if anyone here can honestly say that Obama would have won the presidency had he looked just like His African Dad Then I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you

    • kri says:

      I find Zendaya to be quite talented and beautiful. Her statement was honest and made me feel like she was being very professional. I admire her attitude and wish good things for her future. I do not care what shade or depth of color a person’s skin is-Aaliyah was glorious, and I think Z may have played her well. But that’s not happening. However, I am hopeful another project comes along for her.

      • andypandy says:

        Zendaya will be fine , shes working isn’t she and will continue to do so,
        She has been replaced by yet another biracial actress
        If there is one thing we have learned is of the few roles that can be played by WOC Zendaya and the women who look like her will continue to get the lions share

    • Jenny12 says:

      Are you SERIOUS? Dude does NOT look white. He looks like a Black man. Jesus, take the wheel.

  18. CK says:

    I wonder if Lifetime is going to hit back on that “production values” dig anytime soon. They still are going to put out a movie and I doubt that they are going to want someone badmouthing their project to raise their own profile. That being said, I’m glad Zendaya put out another statement, but this needs to be the last one. She needs to move on, stop talking about the production and this movie in general and book some new flashier gigs. This could be a turning point in her career and how well she handles it could mean everything.

  19. Kim1 says:

    Well the new girl who is playing the role is lighter than Zendaya and she is an unknown.At least Zen could draw some of her fans to the project.Wendy will make this story ABOUT R. Kelly just watch.

  20. Mrs.Krabapple says:

    I’m too old to know who she is. Whenever I see her name, my brain initially reads it as “Zenyatta” (the Cali racehorse). Maybe I’ve spent too much time at the tracks.

  21. Pepsi Presents...Coke says:

    I think the casting call for Straight Outta Compton says everything we need to know about the entertainment industry’s values.

    • Hiddlesgirl85 says:

      Lol! Thank you for mentioning that ridiculous story.

    • andypandy says:

      Thank you the tone deafness and preservation of the Status Quo here especially by black people is mind numbing

      • Jenny12 says:

        Don’t condescend. Just because you’re opinionated doesn’t mean you’re right. Black people are doing fine thinking for themselves and don’t need you to fix up.

  22. Lucy says:

    She’ll get her dream role eventually, I’m sure.