Aaliyah’s Cousin Jomo Hankerson Wants Zoe Saldana To Play Aaliyah

Since rumors started swirling around that Aaliyah would be getting a movie, fans have been overjoyed to see their fave’s life portrayed on the big screen. But then hopes were dashed when it was announced that the movie would be airing on Lifetime instead, and her family was not involved.

Then, of course, there was a full-blown e-riot when Zendaya Coleman was chosen to play the fallen songbird. Some felt that the Disney actress was too young to play the part, while others felt as though she wasn’t “black enough.”

On Tuesday, Jomo Hankerson — Aaliyah’s cousin and president of her Blackground Records label — finally broke his silence on behalf of the family when he stopped by V-103′s Ryan Cameron’s show.

On the family’s disapproval of the film being made

"Obviously, we hadn’t gotten that to that point because we didn’t get the sign from Diane [Aaliyah's mother] and Rashad [Aaliyah's brother] to do something like that yet. The reason why we hadn’t done something is because we haven’t had that conversation with them. This Lifetime thing came out of the blue. We saw it when the press release was released when everybody else did. I think going forward, we will have that conversation because I think that, notwithstanding whatever they do, I know there’s going to be things that they don’t cover because they just don’t have the knowledge to cover it.

My one problem with what Lifetime is doing musically, is that they’re actually having the young lady recut Aaliyah’s vocals. To hear somebody else on top of “One In A Million”… There was a lot of flack when there were other new producers doing Aaliyah music, I can’t imagine somebody singing “One In A Million” as if she’s Aaliyah. That’s unfathomable to me."

On the backlash Zendaya is receiving for being cast as Aaliyah

"Aaliyah went through a similar situation after the R. Kelly thing so I hate to see a young woman go through the kind of backlash she’s getting. She’s [Zendaya] trying to get a job. It’s not her. Our problem is with Lifetime and the way they did the project, and again, like I said, the platform."

On how he’d like an Aaliyah film to be made

"I just think this needs theaters. This needs to be a major movie film. I would love to get Zoe Saldana [to play Aaliyah]. I think she can pull off the acting part of it and she’s obviously gorgeous and beautiful."

Now, if one major concern of Aaliyah fans is that Zendaya isn’t “black enough,” we can’t even begin to imagine the backlash if Zoe, a Latina, were chosen to play her. Zoe’s already gotten her fair share of stones thrown at her for playing Nina Simone in the yet-to-be-released movie, Nina, because people felt as though she wasn’t dark enough, and she wasn’t an African-American actress. At this point, it seems as though no one will really be satisfied. Should they leave the legacy be?


i get that they're upset that lifetime went ahead and did this without them, but they are delusional if they think this should be a theater film with zoe saldana as lead...zoe looks nothing like her, and is too old to play a teenage aaliyah imo. mess all around. what say you, ontd?