Lifetime’s Aaliyah biopic drew negative responses from Timbaland and the late singer’s fans. On Saturday night, November 15, the same time “Aaliyah: Princess of R&B” premiered on the network, Timbaland took to Instagram to express his disapproval of the TV movie and its casting.
“Lifetime disrespects Aaliyah,” he posted and added, “I think everyone musician portrayed in this Aaliyah movie should sue the hell out Lifetime movie for failure of accurate casting.” He also posted various memes satirizing the biopic.
“A lot of people keep asking me if I’m watching that bulls**t. Evidently not,” said the rapper who was Aaliyah’s producer in one video. “No way. Not Timbo.” In another video he said, “People, thanks for the comments tonight on that bulls**t Aaliyah movie. They have felt Timbo’s wrath tonight, baby, and that’s it.”
Some viewers agreed with Timbaland. “Bruuuuuuh wth am I watching #aaliyahmovie I thought the Internet was over exaggerating but this foolishness is JUST,” a Twitter user wrote. Another said, “The #aaliyahmovie needs to dust itself off and try again,” and one other posted, “Damn the #aaliyahmovie was horrid, they seriously ended it with the calibri font smh.”
Some fans were not happy that the network seemed to romanticize Aaliyah’s illegal relationship with R. Kelly, who’s almost twice her age at the time she was 15. “Is Aaliyah too young to know?” and “Are Aaliyah’s parents being unfair?” were some of the tweets posted by Lifetime during the airing of the biopic.
Some replies to the tweets read, “WHY ARE YOU ROMANTICIZING PEDOPHILIA?!” and “With a molester grooming his victim?”
Aaliyah lied about her age, saying she was 18, to get married to R. Kelly, who was 25, in 1994. The illegal marriage was annulled in February 1995 by her parents.
The Aaliyah biopic was met with criticisms by the singer’s parents before it began production. Zendaya Coleman was initially cast in the lead role but dropped out of the project amid the criticisms. Alexandra Shipp later was tapped to replace the former Disney starlet.