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Zendaya Explains Why She Dropped Out of Aaliyah Biopic

Jason Merritt, Getty Images

Disney Channel star and singer Zendaya took to her Instagram account last night (July 18) to clear the air about why she dropped out of the Lifetime TV biopic based on the life of the late R&B singer Aaliyah. The 17-year-old singer’s Instagram videos came on the same day it was announced that Alexandra Shipp (‘House of Anubis’) had been cast in her place.

In a series of three videos, Zendaya explains her motivations to leave the project.

“Let me just explain something,” she says 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, or I wasn’t talented enough, or I wasn’t ‘black’ enough. It had absolutely nothing to do with that.”

In her second video, she continues, “The main reasons were the production value wasn’t there, there were complications with the music rights and I just felt it wasn’t being handled delicately considering the situation. 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. Therefore, I felt not morally OK moving forward with the project.”

“With all that being said, congratulations to the new woman playing Aaliyah,” she says in her third and last video. “I only hope she doesn’t have to deal with half the hate that I had to deal with. Remember, we’re all human beings trying to do what we like to do. Let’s practice motivation and love, not discrimination and hate.”

The situation Zendaya may be referencing to is in regards to Aaliyah’s family reportedly upset that the late singer’s life is getting a TV movie treatment rather than a theatrical production.

The film, titled ‘Aaliyah: Princess of R&B,’ is based on the biography ‘Aaliyah: More Than a Woman’ by Christopher Farley. Aaliyah died in a plane crash on August 25, 2001 at the young age of 22.

Next: Zendaya Becomes New Face of Madonna's Cover Girl

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