Zendaya Coleman will play Aaliyah in the upcoming Lifetime original movie and there’s nothing the critics can do about it. When the singer/actress/Dancing with the Stars alumna was first slated to play the iconic performer, the backlash was swift and terrible. On Monday, Lifetime revealed that the emerging actress will portray Aaliyah, despite the five-year age difference between 17-year-old Zendaya and the hip hop icon at the time of her tragic death. The young star is excited to portray someone, who influenced her life and career in such a profound way.

Zendaya Coleman
Disney Starlet Zendaya Coleman is excited to play one of her idols.

On Monday, she tweered a series of tweets, expressing her gratitude for the role and her admiration for Aaliyah. Friends and fans also joined in the chorus of support, defending Zendaya against the criticism and praising her as “talented” and “hardworking.”

Tentatively titled, Aaliyah: Princess of R&B, the upcoming biopic will be based off of Christopher Farley's best-selling biography Aaliyah: More Than a Woman. The made-for-TV-movie will follow Aaliyah's journey from her debut on Star Search to her rise to fame and, finally, her tragic passing. The movie is scheduled to film this summer and premiere on Lifetime in fall 2014.

More: Disney Star Zendaya To Play Aaliyah In Lifetime Movie