In the wake of the news that Nickelodeon actress Alexandra Shipp will be stepping in to play Aaliyah in the Lifetime biopic, Zendaya is explaining why, exactly, she dropped out of the role.
Although the Disney star’s initial casting was met by backlash, she said on Friday (July 18) that wasn’t the reasoning behind her exit.
“Let me just explain something. The reason why I chose not to do the Aaliyah movie had nothing to do with the haters or the people telling me I couldn’t do it, I wasn’t talented enough, or I wasn’t black enough,” she said in an series of Instagram videos.
“The main reasons were the production value wasn’t there, there were complications with the music rights, and I just felt like it wasn’t being handled delicately considering the situation,” she continued. “And 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 with moving forward with the project.”
“With all that being said, congratulations to the new woman playing Aaliyah,” she said of Shipp’s casting. “I only hope that she does not have to deal with half the hate I had to deal with. And remember that we are all human beings trying to do what we love to do. Let’s practice motivation and love, not discrimination and hate.”
Last month MTV News caught up with Zendaya on the BET Awards red carpet, where she initially explained why she no longer wanted to be a part of the movie.
“I just felt the project wasn’t 100 percent there. I feel [that] production wise everything just felt a little rushed,” she said. “And I think because she’s someone I admire and I love so much, it can’t be done halfway, or not to the standards I think it should be done at, so I just decided not to do it.”