Jomo Hankerson, Aaliyah’s cousin and president of her record label Blackground Records, gave his first interview in 14 years with The Ryan Cameron Morning Show. He clarified exactly why Aaliyah’s family isn’t down with the upcoming Lifetime biopic on Aaliyah’s life.
Check out a few excerpts:
On why the family doesn’t want the movie made by Lifetime:
We feel like [television’s] really not the right platform,” Hankerson said. “Aaliyah was a legend. She was a hugely influential artist on our culture… I think that she deserves the treatment of a ‘Walk The Line’ (about Johnny Cash) or a ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It?’ (about Tina Turner). A big, major movie.
On why the family didn’t pursue making their own Aaliyah biopic before now:
Obviously, we hadn’t gotten that to that point because we didn’t get the sign from Diane [Aaliyah’s mom] and Rashad [Aaliyah’s brother] to do something like that yet.
The reason why we hadn’t done something is because we haven’t had that conversation with them. This Lifetime thing came out of the blue. We saw it when the press release was released when everybody else did. I think going forward, we will have that conversation because I think that, notwithstanding whatever they do, I know there’s going to be things that they don’t cover because they just don’t have the knowledge to cover it.
Could they be referring to Aaliyah’s relationship with R. Kelly? It’s recently been revealed that Lifetime does plan to include that part of Aaliyah’s life in their film.
The family has vowed not to let Lifetime use Aaliyah’s vocals for their project, but as it turns out the network is having Zendaya re-sing them for the film. Hankerson says that’s a big issue.
My one problem with what Lifetime is doing musically, is that they’re actually having the young lady recut Aaliyah’s vocals. To hear somebody else on top of “One In A Million”… There was a lot of flack when there were other new producers doing Aaliyah music, I can’t imagine somebody singing “One In A Million” as if she’s Aaliyah. That’s unfathomable to me.
Speaking of Zendaya, he also says that she’s not his ideal choice to play his cousin.
Aaliyah went through a similar situation after the R. Kelly thing so I hate to see a young woman go through the kind of backlash she’s getting. She’s trying to get a job. It’s not her. Our problem is with Lifetime and the way they did the project, and again, like I said, the platform.
I just think this needs theaters. This needs to be a major movie film. I would love to get Zoe Saldana [as Aaliyah]. I think she can pull off the acting part of it and she’s obviously gorgeous and beautiful.
Zoe Saldana’s an interesting choice — especially considering the backlash she received for playing Nina Simone.
Click here to listen to what else Jomo had to say.