Meet The New Girl: Alexandra Shipp Will Play Aaliyah In Lifetime Biopic, Wendy Williams To Exec Produce

July 18, 2014  |  

Source: Getty Images

It looks like the Aaliyah biopic will not be stopped. And there are some even more interesting developments coming to the Lifetime movie.

Just a few hours ago, talk show host Wendy Williams announced that she would be coming on board with the project as executive producer and actress Alexandra Shipp will play the title role. You may know Shipp for her role in the television show “House of Anubis” where she plays KT Rush or “Ray Donovan” where she’s made an appearance as the character Tiffany. She’s also set to star in the Drumline sequel, Drumline 2: A New Beat, which will air on VH1.

Shipp will replace Zendaya Coleman, who dropped out of the film because she said the production quality was subpar .

That was just three weeks ago. But Lifetime was on move and they’ve found her replacement.

But let’s be real. Shipp, 23, is not exactly an A-list actress…yet And while I’m sure this is an exciting moment for her, the same issues that surrounded Coleman being cast to play Aaliyah will most likely plague Shipp as well.

Her casting doesn’t do anything to soothe the family’s concerns about the movie not being a feature film or the fact that they were not consulted initially. And then there’s the R-Kelly thing, which Lifetime said they are going to include.

With Lifetime replacing Zendaya so quickly, the network could still be on track to finish shooting this summer and air the film in the fall.

Wendy Williams joins Howard Braunstein and Debra Martin Chase (The Princess Diaries and Sparkle) who are also serving as executive producers.

The script, based on the best seller Aaliyah: More Than A Woman by Christopher Farley, was written by Michael Elliot, who also wrote Brown Sugar. 

What do you think about this new casting choice? Do you think things will be easier for Alexandra than they were for Zendaya? And are you surprised Wendy signed on?

Sound off.

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  • myha

    i do know the girl who is gong to be aaliyah but i know tha sh will do a good job at it.

  • anon

    I agree with the argument that LMN is overlooking that Aaliyah was a brown skin woman she was not fair skinned as if all of the girls that they are casting to play her it’s a disgrace but hey I’m not paying for the production but it is a slap in the face to the family that they have no say so in it and what’s to be put out, let alone the terrible casting lol just erase that AALIYAH was a black woman not biracial and don’t come at me with the angry post about someone not being black enough because I do t want to hear it, it’s still horrible casting like their isn’t an brown skin actress out here

  • AbigailTea

    Aaliyah does not need a biopic. Sorry but she was not even that BIG Nationally especially internationally. People forget she has been singing since 1991

    By the time she hit her last year-2001 she should have ALREADY been big especially worldwide. All those years before she had a chance to blow up but she did not. Aaliyah is what I would consider a “106 N’ Park” star with a side of movie roles.

    Again she has been out since 1991. Calculate .

    Between 1991 and 2001 that would be TEN YEARS.

    Her voice was decent and her dancing skills were not that advance. People make it seem like she could dance like Chris Brown. Lets not overrate her please.

    People blow up Aaliyah because she was physically attractive, nice, and died horribly.

  • UP20

    Why are they so hell bent on having a movie about Aaliyah? No shade, no tea. I loved Aaliyah, Detroit represent, but her life was cut so short and the R. Kelly situation can last about two, three scenes before the point is made….

  • Maya

    This is gonna be a hot mess! Aaliyah was our princess and she deserves a feature film. A sold out boxoffice topping movie for weeks. I salute Zendaya from walking away. She’s not tryna put her name on anythtng messy. Respect.

    • Tamera

      TV movie is good enough. The Temptations, the Jackson family, TLC, & now Whitney Houston all got a TV movie and they’ve made a bigger impact in the music industry than Aaliyah. If this movie had been made about a year or two after she died, then MAYBE a feature film in movies would be possible. But too much time has passed for that to happen. If this movie ever comes to light, it belongs on TV.

      • scandalous7

        Thank You! Aliyah was good, but she was not all of that. I do not understand the hype at all.

  • Doll Phace

    Why Wendy? She’s such a messy bish

  • Simba711

    Sorry about the double post. My mistake.

  • Simba711

    I see finding a black woman to play a black woman is like finding a unicorn in your back yard.

  • Simba711

    I see finding a black woman to play a black woman is like finding a pot a gold at the end of a rainbow.

  • Shannon Glover


  • Shannon Glover

    there trying to get rid of black women this is getting uglier

  • Shannon Glover

    african americans we got to fight this please

  • Shannon Glover

    stop this she biracial

  • mrsdessalines

    When is it coming on T.V.

  • Define2

    I must say I really enjoyed the TLC story recently. Whoever put it together and cast it did a really good job. I won’t be watching this one because I wasn’t a fan but hopefully this will be on par with the TLC biopic and Aliyah’s fans will be happy.

  • Dorothy

    I am not concern about complexion. Wendy is evil, I believe she is a hermophordite because she look to be part male. Other movie and music producers that really knew her, like Timberland, Missy Elliott, Drake, Quincy Jones and many others backed off, out of respect for her parents and family like decent people. I hope that if they put one thing in the movie that’s not proven or already public. I hope the family have lawyers out there to sue wendy for every penny she got.

  • LuLu

    Wendy Williams though??? O_o And why can’t these people just respect Aaliyah’s family and find someone else to make a movie about? Gee wiz, for the love of money!

  • Nia

    I honestly would prefer to see Keke Palmer play this role. Not only was she really good in the TLC biopic, but she’s an amazing actress. She would slay this Aaliyah role! And she looks more like Aaliyah than the two women who have been chosen.

    • pika12

      You need your eyes examined. Keke does not look more like Aaliyah than the other two picks. I think it’s better to have a somewhat unknown person like this play Aaliyah. Honestly, it doesn’t matter. This young lady may be just as good of an actress as Keke. Everyone should give her a chance.

  • mmmdot

    Gee a Lifetime movie with subpar, low-budget production values–so shocking. ::Eyeroll:: And with Wendy Williams producing, I just KNOW this film is going to be a ratchet hot mess.

  • Dee

    OK. But like… Aaliyah wasn’t… NVM smh lol HOLLYWOOD!

  • lockstress

    So for every person complaining that Zendaya didn’t look like Aaliyah…uhm….this chick looks absolutely worst than Zendaya in terms of favoring Aaliyah.
    This whole thing is ridiculous at this point. Let it go already.

    • folamix


  • ladybug

    Much respect to Aaliyah but was she really so defined in her career that she needs a biopic? I don’t know if I’m wrong for saying it because she’s now deceased but her career was so short (unfortunately) that I don’t understand the uproar over the casting for this biopic or why it exist. I was an Aaliyah fan back in that day but I just don’t think she had enough time put in due to her unfortanate death. Which leads me to believe this will focus strongly on her personal life and messiness that may have existed which is likely why her family is against. If that’s the fact than it’s so disrespectful to her legacy.

    • folamix

      I so agree with this post. I think this biopic should not be done period. Let her live through her music.

      • ladybug

        Hip hop is going downhill. Anyone can get a biopic, Anyone can get a reality show, anyone can win awards, anyone can get a record deal. I hate to show my age but in my day (80s baby 90s kid) you had to actually put in WORK for respect in the industry it was not just given to you. And biopics were made for people who were legendary in the industry. I believe had Aaliyah lived she would’ve definitely been a legend. But come on now let’s be real. It’s nothing against Aaliyah but the industry in general I just don’t take serious anymore. No one has to put in any work. No one has any hustle about themselves anymore, ok getting out my feelings lol.

    • Guest201

      Yeah her career was cut short but tupac, biggie, and left eyes career was also cut short. Biggie got a movie, tLc got a movie, I heard talks about tupac might also be getting a movie. Why can’t Aaliyah ??

      • ladybug

        True but biggie and Tupac were bigger in the industry and left more of an impact. They were part of the start of “gangsta rap” and the whole east coast west coast beef. The way Left Eye died and the drama she had with her band mates made her story intriguing. Aaliyah not so much imo. I’d still watch it though.

    • simplymi

      I feel you! However, I think ppl forgot how big she was during her time! At one point you couldnt stop seeing her on television and movies….she was no Iggy or Nikki…she had straight hits from 1994 to 2000. Are you that somebody… 4 page letter…back and forth…rock the boat…try again….not only was her music heavily rotated on bet she stayed on MTVs TRL…the days when they played videos. Personally..although her time was cut short I feel that if she was alive right now other singers like Beyonce would not have been as big as they are now. Aaliyah was a triple threat and seemingly humble although she had her faults she always seemed down to earth. Okay I’m done…. I loved the late 1990’s music….excuse my version of behind the music lol 🙂 peacenluvmysistas

      • simplymi

        And when I say Iggy or Nikki….I meant manufactured pop stars with no depth….well old Nikki had depth…idk about new nikki

      • ladybug

        Lol I definitely agree she could’ve been bigger than life. Beyonce definitely would’ve faded with Destiny’s Child.

  • footballmom78

    I think Zendaya was a better choice, I believe that after hair and make up she would have resembled Aaliyah more than this young lady. I also think that with Wendy Williams on board this is going to be messy. As she will focus on the gossipy aspects of her life, not her true story.


    • pika12

      Wendy Williams will try to make sure the movie is honest and doesn’t hold back the truth to save face.

  • sunni_daze

    So they fired Zendaya for being too light (bi-racial), because black folks were ready to start war over it, yet they still slapped all those nay sayers in the face with another too light (bi-racial) girl. I guess they couldn’t find a black girl (non-mixed) to cast. Oh well.

    • pika12

      They didn’t fire Zendaya, she left for whatever reason and probably will never know for sure what that was because I doubt she’ll completely open up about it. If she dropped out because of the criticism of her skin tone that it is unfortunate and ridiculous. Maybe she really wasn’t pleased with the production like she said. Hopefully Lifetime will step things up.

  • coco

    people cant be team zendaya now after ever one was going so hard that she was playing her the only issue i had with zendaya was that she is really tall and aaliyah wasn’t but if you put a dark wig on her and some sun glasses that aaliyah wore back in the day with some 90″s fashion she could of pulled it off they posted the pic of the new girl on facebook with her hair straight and some baggy clothes she looks good but i dont know if she can act i dont know if she can sing i dont know if she can dance and sadly they had someone who could do all three and because of media pressure she balled out

    • folamix

      Personally I thought Zendaya too could have pulled it off. This new person, I don’t know too much about her.

    • pika12

      I watched her (Alex) sing on Youtube so I know she can do that well enough but I don’t know about her singing or dancing ability. Guess we’ll find out soon enough.

  • Zina Gray

    Zendaya, imo, would’ve been much better. Same body type and can dance spectacularly. I just wish they would give up on this bio already. *How u doin*

  • TC

    I still prefer Zendaya. The family is still not behind this project so of course there will still be controversy no matter who is playing the role. And why all the shade being thrown around regarding these girls skin tone. Are ya’ll serious?! Come on now. Fishburne nor Bassett were the correct skin tone, height, or even had singing abilities and we all know they knocked it out the park as Tina and Ike. If these girls are showing up for the audition and winning the role with their ability to act and impress those doing the casting I dont see the problem.

    • Bloop, there it is

      The problem is they’re trying to erase real Black women from the equation. And by real I mean the ones who come from a Black woman. There are millions of light skinned Black women who are not biracial who could play this role of a non biracial light skinned Black woman.

      • anonymouse

        Did you have a problem with the fact that KeKe Plamer is not half middle eastern/Indian, but she was chosen to play Chilli in the TLC story?

        Yall need to cut this divisive BS out for real.

        • Bloop, there it is

          No, I didn’t and let me tell you why. Chilli’s mother is a Black woman. I’m quite sure she was raised to be a Black woman by a Black woman so therefore she has lived a Black woman’s experience and can relate to a Black woman’s struggles and most likely has respect for Black women and our experiences. I’m not trying to divide necessarily but I’m tired of biracial women representing BLACK (with two BLACK parents) women.

          • anonymouse

            So, if the mother’s Black it’s ok?? Chilli’s mother is ‘biracial’ herself( Black and Native American), but you claim her as Black?

            This doesn’t make any sense. Stop looking to Hollywood for representation and don’t assume that because someone has a white mother and Black father……..that they don’t respect or relate to Black women. A the end of the day, it’s just a movie and yall grown people got a kid fired because you all didn’t think she was ‘Black enough’. It’s insane.

            • Bloop, there it is

              I didn’t do anything but comment on a blog so quit it with all that “y’all” mess. I’m not looking to Hollywood for representation but if its going to be done they need to do it right. Ok and maybe they can respect the Black woman but being raised by a white woman is different than being by a Black or any other race of woman. It’s like Black women (with 2 Black parents) are being totally skipped over and replaced by biracial women. And I don’t Chilli’s family’s racial makeup like you seem to so whatever.

              • anonymouse

                yeah, it is whatever…….

              • Cam

                Who gives a darn

                • Bloop, there it is

                  You do because you’re commenting on this thread too.

            • Annette

              I agree with every thing you’re saying, but that girl wasn’t fired. She left.

              She probably saw the writings on the wall with this movie. It doesn’t seem like it’ll be the best quality. I’m sure it looked like a great opportunity at first, but why be involved in something that t*cks off family members, the fans were already petitioning because the family didn’t want it, no rights to the music, ect…

              • anonymouse

                The released story was that she stepped down, but the real story is that the uproar from people is what led to her being replaced.

          • Cam

            It’s really not that deep or serious….shit up…

          • s

            Please cover up. Your ignorance is showing.

      • Tiffany

        So Lenny Kravitz, Evan Ross, Maya Rudolph, & Chilli from TLC are more REAL black people than Halle Berry, Zendaya, Mariah Carey, & even President Obama simply because the second group weren’t born to Black mothers? They’re just as much Black (thanks to the one drop rule) as the first group and other full black people.

        • Bloop, there it is

          They are BUT the first group was raised by Black women and therefore most likely have a totally different perspective of the Black experience than those whose mothers are not.

          • Shayla P

            Bye Felicia…you’re very ignorant

            • Bloop, there it is.

              First off, my name isnt Felicia. That’s your opinion. Opinions are not facts. I can respect that your opinion is different from mine without attempting to insult or dismiss you.

        • anonymouse

          It’s crazy and these will be the same people saying that folks with one Black parent don’t acknowledge their Blackness. Can’t really blame them when folks are going on and on about how they’re not ‘authentically’ Black.

          • Greens and Cornbread

            Says you for the sake of your argument.

            • anonymouse

              I really don’t have an argument per se…………..I’m just finding it weird that people are so caught up in this and talking about ‘biracial’ women replacing ‘real’ Black women. It’s very weird to me and I can’t relate.

        • Simba711

          One drop rule. Lmfao

    • Kbunny

      I don’t care about who plays the role as heavily as other people but I will not compare angela bassett or fishburne to a Disney actress and an actress with little to no recognition… not even in the same league but I do get your point..the problem is people feel that no one stick up for the black darker tone woman who wasn’t “exotic enough” for a movie role.

  • MsSincerity

    I didn’t think I was gonna watch in the first place, but now I’m officially out…….now that Wendy’s in the mix….and this Disney/Jordan Sparks-ish chick…….throws hands up.

  • musiiq

    They need to just give it up. Wendy Williams is now a part of this???? Naw. Just naw.

    • simplymi

      I agree Wendy is a negative Nancy! I think she will make it her personal agenda to smear her name. I’m like we all know that Aaliyah wasn’t perfect but let her rest in peace. Also…idk how I feel about hearing something from a women who seemingly has nothing good to say about any women of color esp blk women.

  • Andiegurl

    It just seems like everything is wrong w/this whole thing from the family not even wanting the film to be made, to them picking folks that look nothing like Aaliyah, to who’s producing it, etc…Just let Aaliyah’s memory live on through her music and the impact she had on the lives of those who knew her as well as her fans. I really think they should just let this film go.

    • Chanel6181

      I agree! Her life was cut so short and the way it happened was tragic.lets just remember her for what she brought to the world. everybody doesn’t need a movie!

  • Pingback: Meet The New Girl: Alexandra Shipp Will Play Aaliyah In Lifetime Biopic, Wendy Williams To Exec Produce - Beauty Tips Around The World | Beauty Tips Around The World()

  • cantcommittoahairstyle

    No just no. They must really need some ratings. Why out of all people would you choose Wendy messy Williams? #byelatavia

    • Lost Soul

      Why the change from Bye Felicia to bye Latavia?

      • Nikki B

        Bc Latavia got on everyone’s nerves with her excuses this season on R&B divas. I’m not ready to sing. #Byelatavia I have laryngitis #Byelatavia I’m on my period and I have a headache #Byelatavia lol

        • cantcommittoahairstyle

          lolol that’s for breaking it down for me.

        • Doll Phace

          Lol good one! Ima use that!!

    • T. T.

      Knowing that Wendy loves to be messy I truly think she is doing this to be very messy.

      She knows good and well Aaliyah’s family isn’t thrilled about this biopic but yet and still she goes and becomes the executive producer.

      To me it says I’ll do this movie no matter what anyone says or thinks and I’m gonna cast whomever just to pi$$ people off and not because I really loved and cared about Aaliyah I’m just doing it for shock value. Wendy’s day is coming and its coming soon.

  • V3

    **Waits for the eye-roll inducing comments on skin shade…

    • Bloop, there it is

      I find it hard to believe they can’t find a light skinned Black woman who isn’t biracial to play this role.

      • V3

        Doesn’t disappoint!

    • simplymi

      Its just like I pass by numerous girls who are Aaliyahs complexion!!! let’s not act like its that hard to find a pecan tan sista. Hollywood acts as if we are all Lupita or Alicia Keys….when in reality we are more unique BC we have more range in skin variation. But idk if its the shade of skin rather then their overall choices….these girls just seem a lil lame. Ok maybe not lame but Aaliyah hung out with heavyweights….I don’t see this Shipp girl getting in the building. Maybe I am biased BC I liked Keshia Chante