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“Had nothing to do haters telling I am not black enough”: Zendaya Felt Morally Wrong to Work in Her Passion Project After Fans Criticised Her Casting

"Had nothing to do haters telling I am not black enough": Zendaya Felt Morally Wrong to Work in Her Passion Project After Fans Criticised Her Casting

Zendaya started her career as a Disney star and has come a long way since. Her growth is visible not only in her performance but in her personality as well. The two-times Primetime Emmy-winning actress is also known for her interest in fashion and bold and stunning red-carpet appearances. However, this doesn’t mean that the 26-year-old actress is spared from criticism over her personal and professional life. The Spider-Man: Far From Home actress went through something similar when she was cast in the titular role of the late American singer, Aaliyah’s biopic.

Zendaya as Rue Bennet in a still from Euphoria

When she stepped back from the project, many believed that the criticism was the reason behind her decision. However, she later clarified that her decision to leave the project had nothing to do with the criticism following her casting.

Read More: Despite $1M Per Episode Salary, Euphoria Star Zendaya Fears Going Broke Due to ‘Financial Anxiety’

Zendaya Backed Out From Aaliyah’s Biopic

In 2014, a Variety report revealed that Disney star Zendaya had been cast as the lead in the last singer Aaliyah’s biopic, Aaliyah: Princess of R&B. Aaliyah Dana Haughton was an American singer-actress who was known for redefining pop and R&B, earning the titles of “Princess of R&B” and “Queen of Urban Pop.”


The singer died in a tragic plane crash in 2001 when she was just 22 years old. The TV film followed the life of the late singer based on her biography by Christopher John Farley, Aaliyah: More than a Woman. The Euphoria star was required to record four of Aaliyah’s songs for the film and wanted to honor the singer she admired growing up. However, people did not seem supportive of her casting in the film.

Aaliyah Dana Haughton
Aaliyah Dana Haughton

Many took to social media to share their criticism of the casting and claimed that the singer-actress was “not black enough” to portray Aaliyah Dana Haughton. Followed by criticism and people rejecting to support the film in any way, the Dune star left the project.

Read More: Despite Breakout Success, Sydney Sweeney’s Euphoria Salary Over a Third of Zendaya’s $1M Per Episode Charges

The Real Reason Zendaya Left Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B

A month after joining the cast of the TV film, Zendaya announced that she had decided to step back from the project. She also clarified that her leaving the film had nothing to do with the criticism against her casting. She said,

“The reason why I chose not to do the Aaliyah movie had nothing to do with the haters or people telling me that I couldn’t do it, I wasn’t talented enough, or I wasn’t black enough. It had absolutely nothing to do with that.”


She shared that the production was getting complicated with issues related to music rights and production value. The film also faced criticism in the early stages of production for not consulting Aaliyah’s family in the movie. The family reportedly disapproved of the project. Zendaya, on the contrary, tried reaching out to the family but was unable to do.

Alexandra Shipp
Alexandra Shipp

She shared that she “wrote a letter” to the family, and when she wasn’t able to reach them, the actress felt morally wrong to be associated with the project. The role then went to the Nickelodeon star Alexandra Shipp, and the No Way Home star congratulated Shipp for the opportunity.

Read More: ‘Pretty xenophobic of her’: Zendaya Slammed for Trolling Tom Holland’s British Accent Despite $20M Fortune from Spider-Man Movies

Source: The Things

Written by Laxmi Rajput

Laxmi Rajput is a writer at Fandomwire. She finished her Post Graduation in Broadcast Journalism and worked as a Business News writer for a year. But her interest in entertainment and pop culture compelled her to find a way towards Entertainment Journalism. She has worked across various fields and has 2 years of experience in content writing. She likes reading, music, movies, and traveling. She aspires to become a fiction writer in the future.