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Trailer released for Toronto-shot Aaliyah TV movie

Aaliyah
A scene from the Lifetime movie 'Aaliyah: Princess of R&B'. Lifetime

TORONTO — U.S. cable channel Lifetime has unveiled a trailer for its controversial made-in-Canada movie about the late singer Aaliyah.

Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B, starring Alexandra Shipp in the title role, premieres Nov. 15. It will not be broadcast on Lifetime in Canada.

The movie reportedly covers Aaliyah’s rise from Star Search contestant to top-selling singer before her death in a plane crash in the Bahamas at age 22.

Shot this past summer in Toronto, the biopic has been criticized by fans of Aaliyah as well her family, who blocked the use of her music.

Appearing on The View, Wendy Williams — one of the movie’s executive producers — said Aaliyah’s story is being told “tastefully.”

“The family is not happy that the movie is being done but we did it so tastefully I think the family would be proud,” she said. “We’re not throwing anybody under the bus but we’re telling the story.”

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Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B was directed by Canadian Bradley Walsh (The Listener) and features a number of Canadians in supporting roles — including Lyriq Bent (Rookie Blue) and Dewshane Williams (Defiance).

In June, Global News was first to report that the Aaliyah biopic would be made in Toronto. At the time, Canadian singer Keshia Chanté was reportedly up for the role.

It was then announced actress Zendaya Coleman had signed on to play Aaliyah. “She’s been an inspiration and influence in my whole career,” the Shake It Up! star tweeted.

Only weeks later, though, Zendaya dropped out of the project.