Disney Star Zendaya To Portray Singer Aaliyah In Lifetime Biopic

Disney Channel star and recording artist Zendaya will star as R&B singer Aaliyah in a new Lifetime original movie, the network announced Monday.

Zendaya, who most recently starred in Disney’s Shake It Up! And performed on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars, will portray Aaliyah, a rising R&B music star in the late 1990s who tragically died in a 2001 plane crash.

Zendaya will record four of Aaliyah’s songs for the film, which is based on the bestseller Aaliyah: More Than a Woman, according to Lifetime. The movie will be produced by Aaliyah Productions, Inc., with Howard Braunstein (The Informant!) and Debra Martin Chase (The Princess Diaries, Sparkle) serving as executive producers. 

The Aaliyah biopic follows Lifetime's announcement last month that it is developing an original movie about the life of Whitney Houston.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.