The star of Lifetime's Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B shut out the haters for her role in the controversial film

Alexandra Shipp (born July 16, 1991) is an American actress. Shipp is most notable for her role as KT Rush on the show House of Anubis. She has also appeared on Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, Switched at Birth, and Victorious. Shipp starred in Drumline: A New Beat. Shipp will play Aaliyah in the Lifetime biopic Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B.

Lifetime will air their much-maligned Aaliyah biopic, Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B, tonight Nov. 15. Shipp joined the film late, taking on the role after Zendaya exited following a deluge of criticisms about her casting.

The film follows Aaliyah over the course of her three-album career, ending right before her death in a plane crash at age 22 in 2001, and chronicles her work with R. Kelly, Timbaland and Missy Elliott. Shipp, who sings all of the songs in the film herself, took on the role confidently, ignoring the pushback from fans and the singer’s family.

Did you get to talk with anyone who knew Aaliyah?

I got to talk to people who worked with her and people who were old friends. I wasn’t going into it blind. At the end of day, I’ll take anything. And I got to learn some fun, quirky things that we were able to work into the movie.

What’s your favorite Aaliyah song?

It changes, you know? When you listen to the same albums over and over again, your favorites change. For me, One In A Million is my album so “Try Again.” When it comes to her other stuff I love “Back and Forth.” I find little moments in all of her stuff. You can hear how she’s influenced people in music nowadays. She was such an innovator before anyone was doing it. I grew up listening to her music. She’s just amazing.

Inevitably when Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B airs this weekend, it’s going to get some criticism. Do you have a response to the potential haters?

I don’t, really. I worked really hard on this film and I’m confident in a product that everyone worked so hard to put out. And there’s always going to be a critic. All I can say to that is, “Thank you for watching.”