Lifetime premiered their Aaliyah biopic, Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B, Saturday night — and Twitter responded with disappointment.
The film is based on Christopher John Farley’s Aaliyah: More than a Woman, a biography of the singer who died in 2001 at age 22. Lifetime’s project has been the subject of controversy since the beginning: Aaliyah’s parents, vocal about their disapproval of the film, prevented Lifetime from acquiring the rights to Aaliyah’s music — so none of the late singer’s songs are included in the movie.
Then Zendaya Coleman, who was set to play Aaliyah, dropped out in June amid criticism that her biracial heritage was not right for the role of a black woman. (Alexandra Shipp later took on the part.)
Between production holds and rights issues, the film’s existence is itself an accomplishment — but not exactly a quality one, according to watchers who took to Twitter to post their reactions.
Timbaland, Aaliyah’s producer and friend, also had some comments about the film: He posted one of the movie’s ads on his Instagram with the caption “Hope yall not watching this!!!!!!!!” Judging from the “AaliyahMovie” hashtag on Twitter, people didn’t take his orders too seriously — but he can rest assured that even if they watched it, they didn’t seem to enjoy it.