Missy Elliott, Timbaland Casting in Aaliyah Biopic Causes Uproar

Fans believe actors are too light-skinned to play hip hop icons.

The upcoming biopic on R&B princess Aaliyah just can't stay away from casting controversies. Weeks after Zendaya Coleman dropped out of the leading role after major fan backlash (she was replaced by Alexandra Shipp), the actors cast as Missy Elliott and Timbaland in the film have caused an uproar.
Canadian singer and dancer Chattrisse Dolabaille will play Missy Elliott while So You Think You Can Dance Canada alum Izaak Smith has been chosen to play Timbaland in the Lifetime biopic. The problem? Both actors have been deemed by fans to be "too light-skinned" to accurately portray the hip hop icons. What's more, Dolabaille is also being criticized for being "too thin" to play full-figured Elliott.
“She is much lighter, she is much smaller and she doesn't seem to have any Hip-Hop RNB [sic] background. Some feel that the biopic creators didn't look hard enough for someone more appropriate to play Missy,” writes The Urban Daily. ”Darker complected women of color have been increasingly feeling disrespected by filmmakers as of late because they are not finding themselves represented on the screen as much as they should be.”
Fans and critics have consistently complained about the project's "white-washing" of its cast. “Aesthetically, it seems, her bone-straight hair is all that is required to override her prominent Irish heritage,” the New York Post said of Coleman as Aaliyah.
Neither Lifetime nor the film's producer, Wendy Williams, have commented on this most recent controversy. is your #1 source for Black celebrity news, photos, exclusive videos and all the latest in the world of hip hop and R&B music.
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(Photos from left: Denise Grant Photography, Izaak Smith via Facebook)

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