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Zendaya Coleman took to her Instagram to explain why she recently left Lifetime’s Aaliyah biopic.
She posted a series of videos after it was revealed Friday that Alexandra Shipp had been tapped to play the late R&B singer. Coleman exited in June amid fan complaints over her casting as well as reports that Aaliyah’s family was upset about the project itself and threatening to block use of the singer’s music in the movie.
“Let me just explain something,” Coleman said in the first video. “The reason why I chose not to do the Aaliyah movie had nothing to do with the haters or people telling me that I couldn’t do it, I wasn’t talented enough, or I wasn’t black enough. It had absolutely nothing to do with that. The main reasons were that 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.”
Coleman — star of Disney Channel’s Shake It Up! and a recent competitor on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars — also said she tried contacting the singer’s family to no avail.
“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,” she said. “Therefore, I felt not really morally OK with moving forward with the project.”
Still, she added that she wishes nothing but the best for Shipp and offered her congratulations to her replacement.
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“I only hope she does not have to deal with half the hate 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. All right?”
Aaliyah topped the charts from 1994 to her death at just 22 years old in 2001. The Lifetime movie will be based on Christopher Farley‘s best-selling biography Aaliyah: More Than a Woman.
Watch Coleman’s videos below.
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