Last week, Zendaya Coleman stepped out of her role as Aaliyah in Lifetime’s made-for-tv biopic after a shit ton of criticism was levied by the entire internet (and Aaliyah’s family). Luckily, the network that brought us modern classics like Jodi Arias: Dirty Little Secret and Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever have more than a few tricks up their sleeve to ensure production continues! These are the eight women currently being considered (in our dreams) to fill the shoes of Zendaya Coleman filling the shoes of Aaliyah in Aaliyah: Princess of R&B.
See also: Dissecting the Politically Charged Subtext of Nicki Minaj’s “High School” Video
Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey likes upsetting the aesthetic sensibilities of good and wholesome American people almost as much as the Lifetime Network does, so casting her to portray Aaliyah would be the perfect fit. She’s got the tragic princess vibe down, and her vacant stare would serve as the perfect melodramatic motif to forewarn impending doom. The inability for people to decide what genre Lana Del Rey is actually singing makes her an extremely useful and versatile vocal talent.
Azealia Banks knows firsthand what it’s like to have a promising but short-lived career. There’s no way in hell anything she ever does will have the staying potential of Aaliyah’s “Try Again” or “I Care 4 U” or “Rock the Boat” or “One in a Million,” but what makes Azealia’s one-hit-wonder ass stand out is that she has had the unique advantage of being alive to watch her stardom fade. This deep intimacy with anger and pain makes her a great choice to encapsulate the feeling of untapped potential and extreme loss that many fans associate with Aaliyah.
Assuming the identity of another person is the only way Paula Patton has a chance of escaping the stalker-vision of Robin Thicke. Transforming into the role will give Paula an opportunity to start anew and remind people that the reason she is famous isn’t just for being Robin Thicke’s poor, poor wife. She’s also an “actress.” The most important thing is that it would give Paula a chance to reconnect with her primary passion (and for Lifetime Network to make a ridiculous amount of train wreck money).
No one misses the 1999-2001 period more than Michelle Williams. It was during this time that she joined Destiny’s Child and contributed to their most legendary of albums, SURVIVOR. It was after this time that nothing happened. Her intense nostalgia and longing for this span would result in a very organic portrayal that effectively urges the audience to go (and stay) back in time with Aaliyah.
Donald Glover has been on a focused mission to prove his chops as a talented lyricist and actor. His penchant for writing, rapping, and comedy-acting are undeniable, but mainstream America has yet to give him the solid dramatic role he deserves to propel him to the top of the A-list and solidify his status as a Renaissance man. This is it. No other performer would bring as much passion to the role — or be able to successfully play several different characters at once — as he could. Lifetime would save money they’ve already lost on production, and America would get another beloved musical gender -bender biopic on par with Cate Blanchett’s depiction of Bob Dylan in I’m Not There (2007).
Blue Ivy Carter
No one knows what it’s like to live and breathe music royalty like Blue Ivy Carter. She was born a princess, and it’s completely up to her which musical genre she wants to claim the throne of. Becoming the Princess of R&B, however, would be the best business decision — and if the Knowles-Carters know anything at all, it’s a good business decision. She could make a career for herself by coyly suggesting she is the reincarnate of her father’s protégé, and she wouldn’t even need to produce any music (she’s a baby anyway). This disregard for tact would also make her an excellent fit for Lifetime, and using small children to re-enact the life of a fallen legend is sure to be a solid ratings hit. North West to co-star.
Because imagine the look on Nicki Minaj’s face.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 8, 2014