Lifetime TRIED IT By Making The Aaliyah Biopic

A person who has made an attempt at doing something amazing, cool, awesome or even witty and FAILS miserably. That person has “tried’it.”

I told myself I wasn’t going to watch Lifetime’s Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B. I am an Aaliyah fan and with all the controversy surrounding the film, I didn’t think it was going to be good. But I of course ended up joining Black Twitter in watching the biopic on Saturday night.

Let me just say….it was as bad as many predicted it to be. Where do I begin????

Let us begin with casting. Not one person, except the actress playing Aaliyah, in the movie resembled the character they were supposed to portray. Although Alexandra Sharp, who played in Aaliyah in the movie, had long hair and a physique that would be comparable to Aaliyah, I personally couldn’t connect her to the singer. R. Kelly looked like K-Ci or Terrell Owens depending on what he had on. Missy Elliott was my size in an Adidas track suit; they totally skipped the finger waves she wore in the 90s. Dame Dash…yea NO! Casting all around was just bad!

Speaking of R. Kelly. Chile…..The movie spent more than an hour focusing on Aaliyah’s relationship with the pedophile producer which was awkward as hell to watch because she was 15 and he was 27 years old when they were together and got married. We know it’s part of her story but it’s not her ENTIRE story. What made it worse was that Lifetime glorified the relationship on Twitter. They had the nerve to ask questions as if it was normal for that relationship to take place. Last time I checked, R. Kelly preys on teenage girls (you can read all about it here). The movie also failed to show how serious it was that R.Kelly had a relationship with a minor. In one scene her parents are upset. In another, her dad is explaining why the relationship had to end (the marriage was annulled). Um, she was 15. She doesn’t need an explanation. It’s inappropriate, the end! And you want us to believe that his father didn’t do more than just push R. Kelly after he found out?? Oh ok.

We will never look at this album cover the same. Sigh…

The creators of the movie weren’t authorized to use Aaliyah’s music. That should’ve been a sign that the movie did not need to be made! Others seemed to agree.There was no real focus on the music in the 2 hour movie. Yes they showed her in the booth auditioning to work with R. Kelly. Yes we saw her perform a song at the Oscars. But what about the making of some of her greatest hits (i.e. One in A Million?). Do you all know how huge One in A Million, the song and album, was at that time?? What about the making of some of her music videos? Why didn’t we see her win any awards? And when it came to her signature style, there were no iconic pieces in the film. Don’t get me started on her hair. We only saw the sharp bang over her eye once. It wasn’t really clear that she had a third album under her belt although fans know she has one. This movie failed in showcasing Aaliyah as a talented dancer and singer. The performances were mediocre. Now that I think about it, I believe they only showed her dancing one time on a late night show with male dancers. I didn’t walk away reminiscing about her great dance moves or beautiful voice. If all of that couldn’t be captured in the movie, what was the point of the point of making it?? For kids who didn’t grow up in the 90s listening to her music, this movie failed at portraying Aaliyah as the talented artist she truly was during the 90s/early 2000s.

The final nail in the coffin for this movie was the fact that Aaliyah’s estate did not approve for this movie to be made. Her friends didn’t approve either. After watching it, I am left feeling like there is an Aaliyah story we are still waiting to see.  There has to be more to her than 1) falling in love with R. Kelly 2) making a few song and then 3) falling in love with Damon Dash. I knew it was going to be disappointing and it lived up to that expectation.

The next biopic is Whitney Houston in January which was directed by Angela Bassett. I want to have hope that the movie will be good, but based on Lifetime’s track record, I’m not so sure. NEWSFLASH: a movie DOES NOT need to be made for every major artist who passes away. Sometimes it’s best if their legacy is left alone.

Did you watch Aaliyah: Princess of R&B? If so, what did you think of the movie?



A video posted by @charliebeenrich on

P.S. Thanks to the horrible casting, Black Twitter went in on Saturday night:

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