Wendy Williams is not backing down! The talk show host was an executive producer on Lifetime's original movie, “Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B,” which premiered on Saturday, and she has taken a lot of heat over the controversial biopic. The film chronicled the life of singer Aaliyah from her meteoric rise to fame in her teens and romantic relationship with producer R. Kelly, to her tragic death in a plane crash at 22. However, the accuracy of the movie has been the subject of much criticism. On Monday, Williams responded to the backlash on her syndicated “Wendy Williams Show.”
“My 'Aaliyah' movie broke the Internet,” Williams told her studio audience, celebrating the movie's popularity. “Whether you love it or hated it, you watched. It was the second-highest-rated movie on cable this year,” she continued to applause from the crowd. Williams dismissed the harsh feedback, saying, “We all have opinions.”
The Lifetime biopic was plagued by controversy from the start. Aaliyah’s family and estate vocally disapproved of it from the beginning, so the film could not obtain the rights to use any of its subject's songs. Then, Zendaya Coleman, the actress who was initially cast in the lead role, dropped out amid criticism that the mixed-race actress was “too light skinned” to play Aaliyah, leading to Alexandra Shipp replacing her.
The controversy did not go away with the movie’s release. Twitter exploded in outrage over the weekend with fans voicing overwhelming disapproval -- citing bad performances, the lack of any of the singer’s original music, and the film’s surprisingly sympathetic take on Kelly, who allegedly married Aaliyah when she was 15.
Timbaland, who produced Aaliyah’s second album and was portrayed in the film by Izaak Smith, was particularly harsh. The 42-year-old musician posted memes and tweets all weekend criticizing the movie and telling fans, “Hope y’all not watching this!”
Despite the controversy, Lifetime will continue airing “Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B,” including Monday at 8 p.m. EST. Fans can watch and decide for themselves if the movie did the popular singer justice or deserves all the criticism.
What did you think of “Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B?” Tweet your thoughts to @Ja9GarofaloTV.