Zendaya Congratulates New Aaliyah Actress, Explains Why She Left The Lifetime Project

Zendaya Coleman had been lined up to play Aaliyah in Lifetime's upcoming biopic, but she pulled out of the project.

On the heels of the news that Zendaya had been replaced by actress Alexandra Shipp, the former "Shake It Up" star took to Instagram to clear the air over why she had backed out.

"Let me just explain something. 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, I wasn't talented enough, or I wasn't black enough. It had absolutely nothing to do with that," she said in a series of three Instagram videos, later posted as text in a photo on Friday night. "The main reasons were that 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.

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"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," she continued. "Therefore, I felt not really morally okay with moving forward with the project."

The 17-year-old star was a good sport about the situation, and wished her replacement, Alexandra, the best of luck on the project.

"With all that being said, congratulations to the new woman playing Aaliyah. I only hope she does not have to deal with half the hate that I had to deal with. And remember that we are all human beings trying to do what we love to do," she said. "Let's practice motivation and love — not discrimination and hate. All right? Mwah."

-- Erin O'Sullivan

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