Alexandra Shipp Talks New Aaliyah Biopic ‘Aaliyah: The Princess of R+B’

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Alexandra Shipp Talks New Aaliyah Biopic ‘Aaliyah: The Princess of R+B’

Talk about what it was like for you (Alexandra Shipp) being in the position to take the Aaliyah role after Zendaya had decided to back away from the project.

In the beginning — I’m not to sure about Zendaya’s auditioning process but I had auditioned at the beginning of the year — it was down to me, Zendaya and another girl. They offered it to Zendaya and I was like “okay”. I went on to do Drumline and  then I rapped on that I got a phone call and they were like ‘Hey are you still interested in doing Aaliyah’. And I wasn’t to sure about it. You know in the beginning when I was just was speaking to my core group of people like ‘O hell no, that is a lot…. there is a lot that goes into that!’. ButI spoke with my mom about and and she said ‘What do you think you can possibly bring to this role because everyone else aside there is always going to be a critic  What do you think. Do you think that you could do this role. Do you think that you could do this woman justice?’ and I was like ‘YEAH’. I read the script and I really think if all the other stuff wasn’t involved this would be a dream job for me. She then said, ‘put on some headphones, turn your cell phone off and do your job.’ And so thats what I did. As an actor I wanted to focus on the role and not the blacklash from the role because that has nothing to do with me.

Why do you think people are so sensitive about this role?

I think that people are really sensitive because whenever it comes to someone passing on everyone had a real connection to a situation like that and she had so many amazing fans, still does to this day even more so than back then. I understand why people feel a certain way about it. I felt a certain way about it but then I read the script and spoke to the producer, Debra Martin Chase.  I was really fortunate in this movie because I got to work with some of the best female, black female executive producers. I am surrounded by these strong women who are supporting this and I was like man if these women believe in this movie just as much as I believe in it then the sky is the limit.

How did you prep for this role?

I wanted to be able to turn on. I wanted to throw in age and I wanted to be able to try and physically encompass it, I wanted it down to the way that she carried her shoulders when she was younger, more of that swag that heaviness to by the time she was 22 it was like regal. I wanted there to be a profession of her physically but also musically and sonically. A girls voice at 14 is completely different than a voice at 22.  And I wanted her to have a couple iffy notes and be a bit lighter be still figuring out how her actual voice should sound. Then you hear her sing journey to the past and your like ‘WHAT’. That voice is just outta this world. I wanted people to have that big boom moment that they had when they saw her perform that song.

You seem to be taking on more singing jobs, can we expect to see you breaking into music as an artist?

Yes definitely I would love to. I am going to put out a single in December and give the people a little taste of my music.  Its very, kind of avant garde-esque. which is why its taking me so long to put something out. We’ll see.  If  I’m not acting I’m in the studio.  Its usually meetings and auditions and acting during the day and then all night I’m in the studio


I am actually excited to see what Alexandra Shipp does with this iconic role!



The CEO of VAIN LLC and founder of EricaVain.com. Just a dope chick from Baltimore, Md that loves to watch TV and Movies, Drink Wine and talk about the latest in Entertainment, Tech and Music.

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