When you go into something not having high hopes, it’s always reassuring when you can tell yourself and others, “I told you so.” And that’s exactly what happened Saturday night during the airing of Lifetime’s Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B.
Because the movie aired on Lifetime, let’s just say no one was expecting a biopic on the scale of Ray, or even VH1’s TLC. What you get with Lifetime is pure unadulterated cheesiness. By cheesiness, I mean a mediocre storyline and actors who couldn’t act their way out of a paper bag.
But what’s really enjoyable when you’re watching something that’s doomed for failure is watching it while a million other people are watching and live-tweeting it. This is what social media, more specifically black Twitter, is made for.
If you weren’t on social media Saturday night, you missed people on Twitter dragging the movie, and its creators, for filth. Let me also mention how disgustingly Lifetime’s own Twitter account made light of the relationship between R. Kelly and Aaliyah, with tweets like these:
Oh, but don’t fret—social media let the network have it, after people felt the movie was a mockery of Aaliyah’s life and downplayed the fact that the relationship between her and R. Kelly was illegal. As a reminder, Aaliyah was 15 when she married R. Kelly, 25 at the time, in 1994. And that relationship was a huge focus of the movie.
Then there was the casting.
Apparently with a low budget, you get low-budget actors who don’t remotely resemble the characters they’re portraying. Alexandra Shipp, who portrayed Aaliyah, looked like Pocahontas. Aaliyah’s father (Sterling Jarvis) looked like Bokeem Woodbine, and R. Kelly (Clé Bennett) looked like Terrell Owens’ long-lost twin brother. This is what happens when you cast a movie after a visit to a barbershop.
As usual, black Twitter had the last laugh when memes started popping up making fun of Lifetime’s casting practices. Not just one, but two hashtags trended throughout the movie’s airing.
So there you have it, folks. You would have been hard-pressed to find one positive thing said about the Aaliyah movie. One can only hope that Lifetime’s Whitney Houston biopic, which airs in January, isn’t a complete waste of a film.