Lifetime’s highly-anticipated Aaliyah biopic, Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B, continues to be controversial in every possible way with the release of a new 30-second trailer set to the music of none other than Iggy Azalea. The song featured is entitled “Goddess” off of Iggy’s debut album, The New Classic. The trailer seems to be receiving one (or both) of two reactions: further outrage, or downright confusion. In light of the puzzling decision on Lifetime’s behalf, many fans of the late R ‘n’ B singer are left wondering why the trailer wasn’t set to, oh, you know, her own music.
It’s because the movie isn’t supported by Aaliyah’s estate, making it even harder for Lifetime to get any rights to her music…even for the trailer of the film. This was just one of the reasons Zendaya Coleman, the actress originally set to play the role of Aaliyah, backed out of the deal. But the legal reasons for not being able to feature Aaliyah’s music doesn’t make the alternative selection for the film’s trailer any less questionable.
Of course, the song is appropriate in the sense that we can all agree on the princess of R ‘n’ B’s goddess-like qualities: she was beautiful, talented, and worked extremely hard to create great work in both the music and film industry. In the trailer, as shots of Aaliyah dancing and singing in the studio are shown, a sample of Iggy demanding that we “bow down to the goddess” is repeated. And while this may be appropriate, the confusion comes not from the content of the song chosen, but the artist.
There are so many who’ve paid musical homage to (and worked with) Aaliyah whom it would’ve made far more sense to feature the music of in a trailer for a movie about her life. Extremely influential artists with impressive track records such as Missy Elliott, Ginuwine, Toni Braxton, and Tweet…or pretty much any artist that contributed to the posthumously released song/video “Miss You”. More importantly, these are true R ‘n’ B artists. Iggy Azalea makes pop…and while there’s nothing wrong with that, in this context, it simply doesn’t make very much sense.
The people who will most likely appreciate and have a stronger connection to Aaliyah’s biopic know that the singer was a true R ‘n’ B artist through and through. While the use of a song like “Goddess” in a trailer for a movie about the singer’s influential life isn’t completely tragic per say, it does completely miss the mark. It entirely misses the very essence of Aaliyah, her work, and her original fanbase. For that reason, the choice of song is a pretty careless decision on Lifetime’s behalf.