Timbaland Slams Lifetime for Airing Aaliyah Biopic

The rapper and producer joins fans in criticizing movie that hit roadblocks from the start

Photo: Christos Kalohoridis/Lifetime

Timbaland and fans went on a social-media tear after Lifetime premiered a controversial biopic about Aaliyah, the 22-year-old R&B superstar who died in a plane crash in 2001.

The mega-producer, who had worked with the late singer, posted a barrage of messages over the weekend that began with "Hope yal’ not watching this!!!!!!!!" and continued with "Lifetime disrespects Aaliyah" before ending the diatribe with an unspecified promise to express more of his displeasure later.

He wrote, “Ok ok ok I’ve think I’ve made my point on how I feel so plsss don’t ask me just go to @timbaland and u will see but a fan said to me Timbo chill Man U just blowing the sh– up and I said true statement so fans ain’t sh– we can do what’s done is done but what we can do is not feed into nomore but I will speak on it loud and clear !!!!!!!! Stay I will announce the time and place soon !!!!!!! Yes the whole world will hear!!!!!!”

Fans responded by asking Timbaland to “plz do my baby justice in telling her story.”

Besides focusing on her stardom, the movie also zeroed in on Aaliyah’s romance with singer R. Kelly, whom she secretly wed when she was 15 and he was 27. (The two always denied the marriage.)

The biopic aired several times over the weekend.

Based on the biography Aaliyah: More than a Woman by Christopher John Farley, the movie encountered roadblocks soon after it went into development. First, opposition from the singer’s parents made it impossible for Lifetime to acquire rights to Aaliyah’s music, so none of it was used in the movie. Then, Disney Channel star Zendaya Coleman, 17, backed out from playing the lead, to be replaced by Alexandra Shipp (Drumline: A New Beat).

In an interview with PEOPLE, Shipp tried to downplay the controversy.

“This world focuses so much on negativity, and this movie has none of it,” said Shipp. “I just wanted to portray this woman in the best way possible.”

A rep for the network did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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