Executive producer Wendy Williams may have received some harsh opinions from stars and fans alike on her Aaliyah biopic on Lifetime, but she’ll never show you that it bothers her – especially since so many people watched it; and at the end of the day, the executive producer says, that’s what counts!
“I see my Aaliyah movie broke the Internet this weekend. E’rybody got an opinion. Well I must tell you, whether you loved or hate, you watched. It was the second highest rated movie on all of cable this year so far. Not just Lifetime. But all of cable! And I must say, ‘Flowers in the Attic’ is number one, and then us, so thank you. We all have opinions, but I must say, if you still want to see the Aaliyah movie, it comes on tonight at eight o’ clock on Lifetime. And by the way, you Alexandra Shipp, did a terrific job as Aaliyah.”
Um, not according to a lot of the posts on social media, Ma’am.
If you happened to be on planet earth this past Saturday, you may not have been one of those who watched the biopic of the late R&B singer; but it was probably hard to escape the wrath that followed on social media. The movie, presented on the Lifetime network, was panned every which way; with comments starting almost immediately after the network started posting tweets which viewers felt “romanticized” the illicit relationship between Aaliyah and R. Kelly, who she married at the age of 15 (he was 25).
The film was trashed from beginning to end; with viewers criticizing the casting, the quality of the acting, and the whole film itself.
Just plain bad.
Timbaland, a producer who worked closely with Aaliyah, trashed the film mercilessly; using memes on Instagram to support his disgust, even though he claims he didn’t tune in.
In an interview Monday morning (listen below) with Ebro in the Morning Timbaland spoke in detail about why he feels so strongly against the movie and says he knew that it should not have been made; but was going by what fans was telling him.
“I don’t know whose fault it is…I’m going by the fans. One of my close friends sent me the picture I first posted and I was like, man, pictures can say a lot. I felt like every picture said everything I probably would say in an interview.
I felt like, let me make it known that I really hear ya’ll fans. I’m very upset about it. Fans kept sending me great pictures and posts…I got 100 every hour. If I could have posted every picture I got, it would have been crazy.”
The producer said that he was bothered by the idea that the first time Aaliyah’s story was brought to life for fans, it was on Lifetime and was done in such a poor manner.
“That’s what made me go off the way I did. It was the first initial time and it was like, wow! This is how ya’ll gone really do it? Ya’ll really gone put this out? I always thought it was a rumor. I thought it was a joke, but evidently it wasn’t. Then I started to realize, wait a minute, this is really, real. As a businessman I’m like, I’m really the one that’s kind of dumb because I really shouldn’t have paid it any attention or gave it attention…the more attention we give this thing, the better it is for them. Support Baby Girl and don’t watch Lifetime. Make a real statement.”
Timbaland reveals he has not been in contact with Aaliyah’s uncle, Barry Hankerson, or Hankerson’s son Jomo, but the family, including himself and Missy, all agree that they wouldn’t entertain a biopic until they were ready and sure it was going to be done right.
“I haven’t reached out to Jomo or Barry. I know for the first time, everybody was all in agreeance [sic] on everything when it came to baby girl and this bio. It wasn’t done right. This is something that people want to hear from, hear from me anyway, and hear from Missy. If you can’t get Missy, I speak on the behalf of all of us when I say that I think it was done wrong.”
Throughout the interview, Ebro Darden kept asking Timbaland if he blamed Wendy Williams for the poor quality of the movie. He says that he doesn’t but acknowledges that everyone involved with the project clearly doesn’t care about how important Aaliyah is to her fans and music in general–it’s all about the money.
“They care absolutely not. And everybody keeps telling me, stop blaming Lifetime, blame Wendy. I didn’t follow the story so I gotta believe the fans. I don’t want to just diss this lady like that. I want to know the full details before I really, really go in. Only thing I know that I can go in on is that you’re showing a mockery on TV. That’s what really bothered me. Out of everybody who has passed away, Aaliyah has a special anointing in the air that people will not let die. When you talk about Aaliyah, everybody wakes up and it’s amazing to me. I think that kind of brought me to tears. To see my music and what I put into all these years, last this long and have that effect on people. The way people support her even after death, I don’t even think they rave over Michael Jackson the way they rave over Aaliyah, and I think that’s amazing.”