Lifetime, we’re getting sick and tired of your loose rap; your loose rap — yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
The fans have spoken. And the majority, to say the least, are not very thrilled with Lifetime network’s biopic of their (our) precious Aaliyah. For starters, mama Haughton and big brother Rashad, did not support the production. That would be sufficient reason to give it the cold shoulder. Curiosity however, gets the best of the most reluctant cats and as a result, on Saturday evening we tuned in — in large numbers. Then we tweeted in fury. Then we laughed at how we may have overreacted. Then we all dropped on our knees and pleaded with VH1 to make things right, because they did such a phenomenal job with the TLC movie.
Or was I the only one… really? Word.
Former Nickelodeon channel actress, Alexandra Shipp played a teen and adult Aaliyah. I’m not going to join the circus and hate on this girl. She did her best. Was her best, good enough? I’ll give her a B grade — B for better. Better than I thought she would do. The casting for the biopic, was from the beginning very controversial, with several actresses rumoured to be attached. In fact there was so much drama, even Lifetime became annoyed. You would find some of these girls over-tanning, going natural and putting on the pounds, just to avoid the backlash by fans — most recently, teen actress Zendaya dropped out at the eleventh hour, citing “personal issues” with the production.
I’ll give the overall casting a D grade — D for deadline. There must have been a serious deadline for casting.
Seems to me like they did more than just “touch on” the whole R. Kelly matter. It appeared to be the main focus of the production. I’m aware that this biopic is based on a popular book, “Aaliyah: More Than A Woman” — one I haven’t read in its entirety, nevertheless I must admit to feeling a little uncomfortable with it being portrayed on film, in the manner that it was. Her family has every right to be outraged regarding this. As a fan, familiar with the situation, I didn’t need to see it played out. It only served as a reminder of how fickle show business is. They build you up, to break you down. Aaliyah was a smart young woman, who made an indiscretion that haunted her career.
I’ll give the overall R. Kelly controversy, a D grade — D for disturbing.
There were so many things I didn’t enjoy, I thought I’d start with one or two I actually did. I loved the interaction between Aaliyah and Rashad in the home. They were indeed very close. The actor did a fantastic job. Again, the family scenes were my favourite ones — I believe that her family was just as supportive in real life. Her uncle Barry Hankerson, assisting his niece in making her dreams a reality, her parents encouragement and her Grandmother’s loving presence. I truly thank the production team for giving us fans, at least one reason to smile. But it wasn’t enough.
Now. Lifetime I know you’ve used drama to make a name for yourself, albeit there is no need to add EXTRA drama to a situation. The screaming, the attitude, the sex, the “video hoes” line… it was too much. I don’t believe you. You’ve failed. Try again?
I’ll give the overall script, an F grade — F for false.
At the end of the day, I would like to think those responsible for the production were truly attempting to honour the memory of Aaliyah, as best they could. That what was done, was done out of love and admiration, for an enormously talented young star, gone too soon.
I’ll give the entire production, a D grade — D for Don’t Know What To Tell Ya.