Fans anticipating the much talked about Aaliyah biopic will have to wait. The late R&B princess’ uncle and Blackground Records CEO Barry Hankerson said the movie is now on the back burner but the music is still on the move.
“The Aaliyah Biopic is currently on hold until the Haughton family agree to go forward with it,” Hankerson explained to That Grape Juice. “Before the controversy Warner [the film studio is on board to fund the movie] wanted Keshia Chante to play the lead role, and Aaliyah’s friends play themselves. We can’t go forward until Aaliyah’s family agree to let us. We’ve always been sympathetic to Aaliyah’s mourning, and we’ll always love the graceful and angelic girl she was to the Haughton family.”
But while Aaliyah’s family is doing their due diligence before any shooting starts, the controversial posthumous album executive produced by YMCMB rapper Drake is still in the works.
“We’re working with 16 never before heard songs that were part of an album she was recording before she died,” Hankerson said. “Fans will hear the same angelic tone they loved so much in these new songs.”
As for the negative reaction the project has received from longtime Aaliyah followers who balked at Drake’s and Noah “40” Shebib’s involvement, Hankerson is philosophical.
“Drake and Noah did an exceptional job with ‘Enough Said’,” he said of the track that caused an uproar when it was learned that longtime Aaliyah collaborators Missy Elliott and Timbaland would not be involved in the release. “The intent was to be creative with one song at first and see how the fans would react. We look forward to them hearing the rest of the album next year. We always expected an unpleasant welcome to this album. Due to the fact that we have control over the estate and authoritative over royalties, we will be moving forward with this album.”
At the height of her stardom, Aaliyah and eight others were killed in a plane crash on Abaco Island in the Bahamas in August of 2001. —Keith Murphy, CBS Local