If you're not an avid watcher of the Disney Channel, the news that a living human named Zendaya will be playing beloved and deceased R&B songstress Aaliyah could prompt an outburst more/less polite than "Hmmmmm?!"
First reported by Necole Bitchie, Lifetime quickly confirmed that Zendaya Coleman – the former star of the Disney Channel series Shake It Up, a contestant on the 16th season of ABC's Dancing with the Stars and the voice behind last summer's incredibly catchy pop jam "Replay" – will play the titular star of a movie about Aaliyah tentatively called Aaliyah: Princess of R&B. Based off the book Aaliyah: More Than a Woman, it'll air this fall.
Zendaya, as she is commonly referred, is 17 years old and half black and half white. A Disney Channel movie of her own called Zapped, which is about a teenage girl whose cell phone allows her to control all the men around her, airs next week. In 2012, she released a video of herself dancing that has a lot of plays on YouTube.
Zendaya has said before that she gets "a lot of comments saying, 'Your voice sounds like Aaliyah'…that's cool! If people think my voice sounds like Aaliyah, I'm like, thank you!" (Her casting also follows the choice of Yaya as Whitney Houston in another Lifetime biopic directed by Angela Bassett.) Though VH1 clearly had great success with their T.L.C. movie, the casting of that biopic was heavily contested, so expect this one to be greeted with much praise and/or many complaints – or chime in yourself to make it so.