I did a slideshow last week on a list of women who were recommended as great candidates to play Aaliyah before and after we all heard that the Lifetime biopic was happening. Keshia Chante, the short and pretty co-host of 106 and Park (and the young lady who had that uncomfortable exchange with August Alsina on the show not long ago) was one name that came up constantly. She can sing well, and bears a little bit of a resemblance to Aaliyah. In fact, she was so convincing, that she was actually picked to play Aaliyah in a film that never completely took form, but was supposed to be directed by Dreamgirls director Bill Condon. She claimed in 2012 that the movie was halted because of a lack of support from the family:
“…there are people trying to create a movie and Aaliyah’s family are still mourning her loss and aren’t ready to share her story and create a film. So there’s a bit of back and forth thing with her family and with creative people. And I know that they would bless a movie being created, they’re just not 100 percent comfortable and unfortunately from my understanding they don’t have complete control of her estate. So a movie could technically be made without them green lighting it and I kind of think that’s unfortunate. So I want her family to be on board and to be happy with it. It’s still kind of lingering in the air.”
That film is now defunct. Instead, Chante was approached about auditioning for the Lifetime biopic, but in an Instagram post, she said that the approval of the Haughton family was always important to her, and after doing some digging, she found that the Lifetime biopic was going to go forward without the family’s input. That didn’t sit well with her.
“Now regarding the Aaliyah film, I just want to say Thank You all for the outpouring of love & support. You guys went so hard!! It’s really touching to know that you root for me! Words can’t even express. But this particular project just wasn’t for me. After learning more about the situation & how the Haughton family truly felt, I just didn’t feel like it was right. But at the end of the day, this is just one, of what will be many movies on Babygirl’s life. So maybe one day, if it’s the right circumstance, timing & I get the blessing, I’ll choose to be a part of something. Until then, keep #Aaliyah‘s legacy alive & positive! And support my girl Zendaya who is just living out her dreams & working hard to do so! xo KC”
Chante isn’t the first person who was associated with the movie and then backed out because of the family’s wishes. Teyana Taylor also auditioned for the role, but opted against continuing on with the process when she heard that the family wasn’t involved.
Is it wrong to take a role in a biopic, knowing that the family of the late subject isn’t on board with it?