The 17-year-old explained her reasons for leaving the made-for-television movie. In a series of rushed, rambling Instagram videos, she admitted the production values were low, the family hated the idea, and everything was not up to her expectations.
She tells fans in three videos posted Friday, “The reason I chose not to do the Aaliyah movie had nothing to do with the haters or people telling me I couldn’t do it… [that] I wasn’t talented enough or black enough. It had absolutely nothing to do with that.” Naysayers also said Zendaya was “too young”, at 17-years-old, to play Aaliyah who died when she was 22-years-old.
She adds, the “production value wasn’t there, there were complications with the music rights, and I just felt like it wasn’t being handled delicately considering the situation,” so she was not “morally OK” moving forward.
“With all that being said, congratulations to the new woman playing Aaliyah,” she adds. “I only hope that she doesn’t have to deal with half the hate I’ve had to deal with.”
Following the production freeze announced by Lifetime, Zendaya has since been replaced by Alexandra Shipp, 23.