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Much to the chagrin of Aaliyah’s family, Lifetime is moving on with their biopic about the late R&B star’s life with a new lead after Zendaya Coleman dropped out of the role last month.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, actress Alexandra Shipp will now assume the role as Aaliyah and talk show host Wendy Williams will executive produce the film along with Debra Martin Chase.

“I’m excited to exec-produce the Aaliyah Lifetime TV movie with Debra M. Chase,” Williams revealed on her Twitter as she celebrated her 50th birthday. “Production starts later this month and Alexandra Shipp will play Aaliyah.”

Shipp is probably best known for her role as KT Rush in the Nickelodeon soap opera, House of Anubis. Like Williams, she recently celebrated her birthday as she preps for the now controversial role.

As details for the film slowly began to unravel in June (including the juicy headline that R. Kelly’s underage marriage with the singer would be detailed), Aaliyah’s family proceeded with legal representation to nip production in the bud. Zendaya braved through backlash and announced she was determined to do her character justice but abruptly pulled out of the movie, citing various corner cutting with the way the script read.

Lifetime was left in a period of uncertainty and released a statement saying, “”We are sad Zendaya will no longer portray Aaliyah. Production is currently on hold.”

Which, of course, is no longer the case.

Check out the gallery to see Alexandra’s first look as Aaliyah and some of her more candid shots. Do you think she looks like her and has the personality to pull it off? Let us know in the comment section below.

Photo: Lifetime

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