The Lifetime Network premiered its Wendy Williams-produced Aaliyah biopic, Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B, Saturday night, and as expected, social media hosted mixed reactions, many tipping more toward negative than positive.
The film, based on Christopher John Farley’s Aaliyah: More than a Woman, a biography of the singer who died in a 2001 plane crash at 22, premiered amid controversy after changes in casting and criticism over the choice of actors to play major music figures such as Missy Elliot and Timbaland.
Aaliyah’s impact on global entertainment and pop culture is undeniable: She sold millions of albums, starred in films with Hollywood heavyweights, changed the urban fashion landscape among young fans with her side swoop and edgy sexy swag, and sold out concerts—all before the age of 21.
According to reports, the star’s parents disapproved of the film, and prohibited the network from acquiring the rights to Aaliyah’s music—thus the absence of any of her infamous vocals in the film.
Williams and lead actress Alexandra Shipp defended the biopic, with Shipp calling backlash “ridiculous,” however, many took to news and social media to voice their dismay and utter disgust with various aspects of the film, while others held mixed reactions. As we all await ratings numbers, take a look:
— Just Danyell (@numberonegigi) November 17, 2014