Background information
Birth Name Aaliyah Dana Haughton
Born January 16, 1979
Brooklyn, New York City, New York, U.S.
Died August 25, 2001(22)
Marsh Harbor, Abaco Islands, The Bahamas
Occupation Singer, dancer, musician, music producer, model, actress
Years Active 1991–2001
Relatives Rashad Haughton (brother)
Barry Hankerson (uncle)
Jomo Hankerson (cousin)
Shanga-Ali Hankerson (cousin)
Parents Michael Haughton
Diane Haughton

Aaliyah Dana Haughton (January 16, 1979 - August 25, 2001) was an American recording artist and musician. She became interested in singing at an early age and preformed at weddings and concerts during her childhood. She released her first album Age Ain't Nothing but a Number and the album sold over three million copies in the United States.

She signed with Atlantic Records and worked with record producers Timbaland and Missy Elliot to produce One in a Million, her second album, which sold 3.7 million copies in the United States and over eight million copies worldwide.

In the latter years of her career, she delved into acting and was given prominent roles in two films. In between the release of the two films, her third album, Aaliyah, was released in July 2001.

Aaliyah died on August 25, 2001 during a plane crash while en route to the United States after filming the music video for the single "Rock the Boat". She died with eight others, she was only 22. Her funeral was held days later and attended by musicians among members of her family and dedicated fans. The sales of her third album skyrocketed and it has been revered, much like Aaliyah herself.

Early life Edit

Aaliyah was born on January 16, 1979 in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. When Aaliyah was four, her parents relocated to the Motor City. There, she would spend her formative years. She recalled having "every sort of pet imaginable," during an interview with FHM Magazine and said her cousin, Jomo Hankerson, had a baby alligator.[1] Aaliyah's mother was a vocalist and Barry Hankerson, her uncle, was married to Gladys Knight. As a child, Aaliyah traveled with Knight and worked with an agent in New York to audition for commercials and television programs, which included Family Matters.[2] Her mother gave up a singing career of her own to become devoted entirely to her family, but she harbored a passion for music and it quickly caught Aaliyah.

Her brother Rashad said she was his best friend and that growing up with her was "amazing." He admitted that the had arguments, but that "she was always an angel." He recalled her running around their home and singing, which he said was never annoying because she had a beautiful voice. Aaliyah became close to her brother and cousin, as the three only lived five blocks apart and Jomo would sometimes walk them home from school.[3]

Her cousin remembered the Haughton home as being filled with music and that every time "he went over there was either a record on the player, or people were just making their own joyful noises." Growing up, Aaliyah sang the whole Whitney Houston album and Luther Vandross album around the house. Jomo said this was part of why "music was always a part of her personality" and said she was "always a great little singer."[4]

Aaliyah attended Gesu Elementary. In an interview with New York Newsday, she recalled being a "pretty popular kid" but said that like all kids, she went through "that awkward stage". "I made friends and lost friends growing up." When she was in first grade, in 1985, Aaliyah won a part in the production of Annie and became interested in show business from that point on.[4] Aaliyah said during a televised interview with Vibe that she began singing at the age of 6.[5]

At age eight, she began trying to make a name for herself as a vocalist outside of family get-togethers. She started performing at school functions and talent shows around the Detroit area and landed singing gigs at weddings. Author Christopher John Farley described her at the time of her early singing roles as "quite a sight back then" and added that she was "a skinny girl standing up in front of amused wedding guests and a smiling bride and groom, belting out hits by soul singers who were stars even before they were born - tunes made famous by acts like Stevie Wonder and Whitney Houston.[6]

She appeared on Star Search at age ten. Looking back, she expressed her belief that she should have won the competition and her opinion that she was "hot". She was given a private audition when she and her mother found out about the auditions. Rashad said his sister practiced the song every day and was ready by the time of her performance. Her brother also said her loss was a big blow, but the fact that she did not give up embodied his sister. Aaliyah said she learned that "you don't win all the time" but when losing, "you dust yourself off and try again."[7]

At the age of ten, Aaliyah signed up to work with Wendelin Peddy, a vocal coach. Peddy saw Aaliyah's development up close and said that as a ten year old, Aaliyah "knew exactly what she wanted to do." She worked with Aaliyah to ensure she developed her own style and voice and did not come off as a copycat of any other already-established artists. Paddy worked with Aaliyah after she was signed by a record company and worked with her on the recordings of her first two albums.[6]

Career Edit

1991 - 1995: Beginnings and Age Ain't Nothing But a Number Edit

Hankerson signed her with his Blackground Records label at the age of 12. She was later introduced by Hankerson to R. Kelly. R. Kelly became her mentor and a lead songwriter and producer of her debut album. Aaliyah's first record, Age Ain't Nothing But A Number, was recorded when she was 14 and sold more than a million copies.[8] Aaliyah's debut single was "Back & Forth", which topped the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for three weeks. It was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The album did well in Canada as well, selling over 50,000 copies and was certified gold by the CRIA. She released "The Things I Like" as part of the soundtrack to the 1994 film A Low Down Dirty Shame.[9] R. Kelly said Aaliyah was "one of the best young artists" he had worked with.[10] When she first became involved in the music industry, she was most interested in meeting Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Barbara Streisand and Mariah Carey and by July 1996, had not met any of them. When asked why she not yet met them, she stated they were busy people but was confident that she would met all four of them eventually.[11]

In 1994, she met Brandy, who would later say that she served as her inspiration, as well as Monica's. When recalling when she first met Aaliyah, Brandy stated: "I met Aaliyah when I was about 15 [yrs old]. It was I think at a rehearsal for the Soul Train Awards and someone introduced us. I was so excited to meet her because she was the first girl on the scene. She came out before Monica and I did, she was our inspiration. At the time, record companies did not believe in kid acts and it was just inspiring to see someone that was winning and winning being themselves. When I met her I embraced her, I was so happy to meet her. I told her how much I loved her. She said the same thing about me and we connected. It was a great moment I'll never forget."[12] Brandy recalled preforming with her at a radio event and her being very "supportive".[12] She is also said to have met Ray J, Brandy's younger brother and fellow musician, who said that he met her a few times and felt that she was very talented.[13] In 1995, she preformed the national anthem.[14]

1996: One in a Million Edit

One in a Million (album)

Cover for One in a Million.

She left Jive Records to sign with Atlantic Records in 1996. She worked with record producers Timbaland and Missy Elliot on her second album, One in a Million. At the time of the album's release, Aaliyah was attending the Detroit High School for the Fine and Performing Arts, where she majored in drama. She graduated in 1997. The album yielded the single "If Your Girl Only Knew" and it topped the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for two weeks.

She co-hosted with Corey Hill on the radio on July 12, 1996. She commented on the death of Tupac Shakur in September 1996, who was shot multiple times in a drive-by-shooting and died six days later as a result of his injuries. No known meeting between her and Shakur is ever known to have taken place. For nearly two years following the release of her second album, Aaliyah disappeared from the public view to focus on graduating from high school.[7]

1997 - 1999: High school graduation, Academy Awards and Are You That Somebody? Edit

Aaliyah in 1997

Aaliyah in 1998.

In 1997, she was featured in Timbaland & Magoo's debut single, "Up Jumps da Boogie". One in a Million peaked at number 18 on the Billboard 200 and sold over 3.7 million copies in the United States and over eight million copies worldwide. On March 8, 1997, Aaliyah was present at the 1997 Soul Train Music Awards, where The Notorious B.I.G. presented an award to Toni Braxton. The following day, the Notorious B.I.G. was shot to death in a drive-by shooting.[15] She began her acting career in 1997; playing herself in the television series New York Undercover. She became the spokesman for Tommy Hilfiger Corporation.

Aaliyah performed "Journey to the Past" at the 1998 Academy Awards ceremony. At 19 years old, she was the youngest African-American female singer to ever perform at the event. Biographer Christopher John Farley described the performance as a major event in her life. Aaliyah met members of the group Destiny's Child that year and the group remembered being intimidated by her since she had already established herself whereas they had not.

In 1999, Aaliyah filmed her scenes for Romeo Must Die, released the following year. DMX says Aaliyah personally approached him along with Joel Silver to "see" if he wanted to be "a part of the movie".[16]

2000: Romeo Must Die Edit

Aaliyah MTV Video Music Awards 2000

Aaliyah at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards on September 7, 2000.

Romeo Must Die was released in March 2000. Critical reception to the film was mixed to negative. After filming for the movie was finished, Aaliyah joined DMX in recording and shooting the visuals for the song "Back in One Piece". The pair shot the video in Mount Vernon and Yonkers, DMX stating "I got to bring Aaliyah to the hood. Not many people can say that".[16] During the video, Aaliyah can be seen singing three times. Aaliyah spoke of her role in Romeo Must Die, that of Trish, as purposely being picked as her first movie role since she felt the character was similar to her in ways and that by acting in a way similar to herself, she would be allowed to expand her roles and different choices.

Aaliyah met Damon Dash in the summer of 2000 in New York and they became friends before becoming a couple. Dash recalled: "“She was intelligent and she caught me. I’m the kind of guy who says things sometimes just to make myself laugh, but she would just catch me making jokes for me. I couldn’t get anything past her. She had a very quick mind and a very kind heart.”[17] She and Dash were often seen around New York smiling and enjoying each other's company.[18] In September 2000 she appeared at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards and attended the event along with her brother Rashad, who says he was doubtful of going with his sister but she insisted he attend. After the music video for "Try Again" won the Best Female Video, she went to the stage with him and called him her "everything". She began filming Queen of the Damned' in the fall of 2000. She returned to the US in the spring of 2001 and quickly began working on her third album.[7]

2001: Self-titled album Edit

Aaliyah in 2000-2001

Aaliyah in 2001.

She finished the recording of Aaliyah in March 2001 after having filmed her part in Queen of the Damned for four months, delaying the album's release. She had begun recording the album in 1998 and recorded a few songs before filming scenes for Romeo Must Die. She did a photo shoot for the album in Australia and handled five pythons at the shoot and took a positive liking to snakes, which she described as "dangerous, but quite beautiful" and said they represented her on the album. She attended the premiere of "The Plant of the Apes" on April 23, 2001. On April 27, 2001, Aaliyah attended the Essence Awards. In May 2001, Shaquille O'Neal claimed to have had sexual intercourse with Aaliyah along with a few other celebrities. She denied the allegation prior to O'Neal admitting that he was joking and that his statements about her were false.[19] In a later interview, Aaliyah refused to comment on the allegations made by O'Neal, which though confirmed on his part to be false, she still opted to only refer to the allegations being answered by him.

Aaliyah 2001 Music Awards

Aaliyah at the 2001 MTV Music Awards.

She appeared at the 2001 MTV Music Awards on June 2, 2001. It was her last appearance at the MTV Music Awards. She was nominated for the "Best Female Performance" for her role in Romeo Must Die and also nominated for "Breakthrough Female Performance". When interviewed over being nominated in two categories, she stated: "It's beyond words. When I did the film I hoped people would enjoy it and enjoy my performance, and to be nominated for that performance is really beyond words. And it's coming from the fans, and that really means a great deal to me. And it's two amazing categories, you know? So I'm very excited about it. I remember attending the awards last year and presenting, and now being nominated, it's really great." The next day, June 3, Aaliyah attended the Los Angeles premiere of Romeo Must Die. For the release of her third album, MTV set up a series revolving around Aaliyah and her day-to-day activities as a diary. It covered much of her life from June 2001 to July 2001. She was asked by People magazine in July 2001 if she would ultimately have to choose between film and song and she stated: "I hope not. I want the public to look at me as an entertainer so I don't have to choose, especially not right now. I really just want to do it all."[20]

Aaliyah (album)

Cover for Aaliyah.

Her album Aaliyah came out in July 2001. It debuted high on the Billboard charts and received rave reviews from TIME, Spin and Vibe magazine.[21] The song "Rock the Boat" was released as a single and its music video premiered on BET's Access Granted. The music video's episode became the most viewed and highest rated in the history of the show. The single peaked at number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number two on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, as well as being included on the Now That's What I Call Music! 8 compilation series; a portion of the album's profits being donated to the Aaliyah Memorial Fund. "More than a Woman" and "I Care 4 U" were released and peaked with the top 25 of the Billboard Hot 100. Aaliyah was certified double Platinum by the RIAA and sold 2.95 million copies in the United States.

Aaliyah was signed to appear in several films, which included Honey, a romantic film titled Some Kind of Blue and a Whitney Houston produced remark of the 1976 film Sparkle. She had filmed part of her role in The Matrix Reloaded and was scheduled to appear in The Matrix Revolutions as Zee. However, her role was subsequently recast to Nona Gaye. Aaliyah's scenes in The Matrix Reloaded were included in the tribute section of the Matrix Ultimate Collection series.

Personal life Edit

Aaliyah 2001

Aaliyah in 2001.

For her twentieth birthday, January 16, 1999, Aaliyah sang Whitney Houston's "So Emotional". Ginuwine said of his working with Aaliyah: "It was a privilege. The misconception is that people think we hung out everyday. Its not so. We talked on the pagers and stuff. We did a lot of shows together and we were both hot at the time but we didn’t really hang out, hang out."[22] She was fond of the color black and her favorite outfit was this color. Aaliyah said she really loved her life and that she "truly" was happy.

Aaliyah enjoyed taking baths to relax and would listen to music while bathing. In the event that she could not take a bath, she had fun reading the Harry Potter novels and by 2001, was on the second book. She died three months before the release of the first film in November 2001. She disliked motorbikes and was frightened by them, saying they "scare the hell out of me." She was a fan of Lewis Taylor and believed that his career should have taken off, given his talent and expressed interest in working with him. She liked Brittany Spears and believed she was talented.

Views on self Edit

Aaliyah identified herself as a dark person and felt her third album Aaliyah reflected her. When asked what it takes to "seduce" her, she said she liked someone that could make her laugh and that she and her family and friends liked to "just be silly" so she needed someone with a good sense of humor and joked, "it wouldn't hurt if he was really cute too".[23] In another interview, she was asked what kind of men she was into. She responded: "I like really silly, funny people. Everybody that I hang with knows how to laugh and just all out be crazy so I like that and people that can just appreciate someone staying at home and kicking it."[24]

Refusal to discuss personal life Edit

Aaliyah did not like discussing her personal life and despite understanding that it "comes with the territory" to have your private life become publicized once you become an entertainer, she still chose to not reveal much about it, particularly her relationships. This is a view that has been consistent with many other musicians and many of which express their dislike for the media and the attention their personal life receives after their career begins. She was known to keep a low profile around the homes she had, such as her apartments and was not known by most to even live there during her residence. "She didn't want to use her private life to sell her work; she wanted her work to speak for itself," Vibe editor-in-chief Emil Wilbekin said. "She reminded me of an old Hollywood entertainer—very glamorous, very mysterious. She had potential to be the next Whitney, Madonna or Jennifer Lopez."[20]

Family Edit

She regularly hung out with her older brother Rashad and enjoyed watching films at home whenever she was not working. She also occasionally went to clubs. In the Aaliyah's diary series that aired on MTV, she and her brother Rashad can be seen discussing his love life and the girlfriends he had previously, one of which Aaliyah liked more than Rashad himself and Rashad asked what had become of her and Aaliyah recalled him not liking her. The series has been pointed at as showing their love for each other and the good relationship they had. She attended his graduation from Hofstra University in May 2000.

Aaliyah was known for having a good relationship with her family. When asked during an interview in 1995 how he felt about his sister, Rashad stated: "I’m very proud of her. I love my sister dearly and we’re very close, I just try to be with her and by her side in whatever she does. I just want to be there, I know she’s going to do great so I just want to be with her." In the same interview, he expressed his protectiveness for his sister and that he was "not going to let anyone hurt her.[25]

On her mother, Aaliyah stated during an interview: "My mom was an educator and has a really good head on her shoulders. She teaches me to give back. We have both Breast Cancers and Parkinson's disease in the family, so she makes sure I go visit patient's and also participate in fundraisers. She keeps me well rounded as an individual as well, making sure I am exposed to a lot of things other kids my age aren't."

Aaliyah always expressed her desire to get married and have children, but noted that it would not come anytime soon due to her being at the height of her career. In 2000 she stated: "I don't know what's going to happen in the next five or ten years. At some point I'd like to have a family and settle down, but I don't see that happening for a long time because I love [performing]. This is my life, my world."

Relationships Edit

Following the release of her first album, it was speculated that there was a romantic relationship between Aaliyah and R. Kelly. There was also speculation of a secret marriage given the content that R. Kelly had written for Aaliyah. Vibe magazine revealed a marriage certificate. It stated the couple had married on August 31, 1994 in Sheraton Gateway Suites in Rosemont, Illinois. Aaliyah, who was 15 at the time, was listed as 18 on the certificate. The illegal marriage was annulled six months later by Aaliyah's parents. Both Aaliyah and R. Kelly denied marriage allegations and Aaliyah never discussed her relationship with him publicly.

There have also been rumors that at the time of Aaliyah and R. Kelly's working relationship, R. Kelly had Aaliyah flown to Florida and she then accompanied him to Chicago, where Aaliyah acquired a fake ID and the two married in a hotel room. The followup rumor is that Aaliyah's father retrieved her from Chicago and forbade her from seeing R. Kelly. After this, R. Kelly is alleged to have tried calling her and upon being answered by Aaliyah's father, stated "Put my wife on the phone."[26]

It is claimed that Aaliyah never saw R. Kelly again after they were separated by her parents.[27] Another allegation claims that R. Kelly got Aaliyah pregnant, one posed by Demetrius Smith, Sr., a member of R. Kelly's entourage, who also claimed that he had previously asked R. Kelly about his relationship with the singer and whether or not he was "messing" with her. Smith claims that R. Kelly confirmed he had not, though the also alleged pregnancy suggested otherwise.[28] When asked about being married in 1995, Aaliyah stated "I'm not married. That's all I really want to say about it." The marriage to R. Kelly has been called the only scandal in her career.[20]

Timbaland revealed in 2011 that he was in love with Aaliyah as an episode of E! True Hollywood Story was set to air on December 19, 2011. He felt that it was time for the world to know about how he felt and went on to explain why he never acted out on his feelings: "I said, ‘She [is] just a baby, I’m old’. I said to myself, ‘I’m just gonna be her brother’. Oh man, I was fightin’, I was fightin’ a lot — a big war. But I loved Aaliyah.”[29][30][31]

Aaliyah dated Damon Dash at the time of her death and though they were not formally engaged, Dash claimed in interviews following her death that the pair had plans to marry. The pair had met the year before she died in 2000 and were friends prior to their romantic relationship. Aaliyah planned on marrying Dash after the release of The Matrix Reloaded. Dash described his heart as being broken after she died and recalled her understanding him and getting "my jokes."[32] Dash further stated: "She was always working and shooting movies. She was always gone for like four months at a time, then come back and be gone for another month. She had to rehearse and I was doing my own thing, so it was really hard for us to get long stretches of time together. When you're with someone like that you buy into a life of being separate, but again, I couldn't help my feelings".[33] Immediately following her death, Dash stated: "She was the best person I ever knew. … I never met a person like her in my life. Every day that we were together, we cherished. Every memory — every day was a special event, whether it was going to a store or going to a movie or just sitting in a house. Wherever we were was like our own little party, in our own little world." He also spoke of the masculinity and tomboy image she was known for as being part of their relationship: “She was the only girl that got to hang out with my homeboys on the level of a homeboy. It was like being able to be with your homeboy and your girl at the same time. … We just generally had a lot of fun together.”[34] Aaliyah never spoke publicly of her relationship with Dash.[20]

She is rumored to have dated Jay Z at some point and the two were known to have good relationship as friends. In 2003, Jay Z rapped during his remix of her song "Miss You": "Dame [Dash] told me to tell you, he’s doing well/ Due to the circumstances it could’ve been Bellevue/ I ain’t got to tell you, you looking over us, our little angel".

She was also friends with Beyonce, who later married Jay Z. On the thirty-fifth anniversary of Aaliyah's birth in 2014, Beyonce acknowledged the significance of her birth by posting a picture of the two together. She was best friends with Kidada Jones and wore a bracelet with Jones's name on it, while Jones wore one with Aaliyah's name.

Artistry Edit

Voice and style Edit

Aaliyah described her sound as "street but sweet", which featured her "gentle" vocals over a "hard" beat. Writers felt Aaliyah matured with the progression of her albums and referred to her progress as a "declaration of strength and independence." Her songs were said to have "crisp production" and "staccato arrangements" that "extend genre boundaries" while containing "old school" soul music.[35] It stated by one commentator that her potential greatly exceeded that of Janet Jackson in the early 1990s, since Aaliyah was a teenager and Jackson was in her thirties, the commentator reasoned. Despite comparisons like this, Aaliyah always expressed how much she was influenced by her.

Influences Edit

She was primarily influenced by Michael Jackson, Prince and Janet Jackson. Aaliyah's favorite album was Michael Jackson's Thriller and said nothing would "ever top" it. Aaliyah always desired to work with Janet Jackson and always noted the influence she had on her and admitted to admiring her "a great deal." Janet Jackson stated that she would have enjoyed collaborating with Aaliyah.

Image Edit

In the first few years of her career, she was known for wearing glasses and having an allure. She emphasized her public image throughout her career and could often be seen wearing baggy clothing, Aaliyah once stating that she wanted to be herself. Her wearing of black clothing started a trend in the United States and Japan for women. She was known for her tomboy image during the early years of her career and while it still persisted throughout her entire career, it was downplayed by the release of her third album.

In an interview, she alluded that the way she dressed during public appearances when she was a teenager was the same way she dressed when she was by herself and said that at that time she never envisioned herself wearing dresses or heels, stating that she was a "little boy back then." She said that by the time she was eighteen and nineteen, she started to like dressing more feminine. She also attended her homecoming and proms in pants and with a crew of her fellow teenaged musicians.

For Aaliyah, she tried to give an adult image to show her progressive views and growth both as an artist and as a person. She purposely picked out a dress to highlight the fact that she was a woman and a developing one as well.[7] It has been said that the dress she wore at the 2001 MTV Movie Awards was purchased by Aaliyah at a local mall. This story has been used to support her sense of humbleness.

Other ventures Edit

Endorsements Edit

She supported and participated in Tommy Hilifiger's All American Tour. She was featured in the Tommy Jeans ads, where she was depicted wearing clothing from Hilifiger's line. She also became friends with Kidada Jones in the process of participating.

Philanthropy Edit

Aaliyah donated over $20,000 to the Bahamas and was complimented by a fan for doing so. He said she stated "God blessed me with money and now it's time to give it back". She took a picture with the fan, possibly her last, at The Bahamas Airport.

Death Edit

Main article: Death of Aaliyah

Aaliyah died on August 25, 2001 in a plane crash in The Bahamas while trying to return to the United States after completing filming for the music video for the single "Rock the Boat". The plane was piloted by Luis Morales III, who was found out to have traces of cocaine and alcohol in his system. Her body returned to the United States three days later. Her funeral took place on August 31, 2001. Many artists were in attendance to the ceremony and her brother Rashad delivered the eulogy.

Posthumous career Edit

She was awarded two posthumous awards at the American Music Awards of 2002; Favorite Female R&B Artist and Favorite R&B/Soul Album for Aaliyah. Queen of the Damned, her second and final film, was released in February 2002. Before its release, her brother Rashad re-dubbed some of her lines. In December 2002, a collection of previously unreleased material was distributed in I Care 4 U, her first posthumous album. It featured six new songs along with some rereleases.

In 2005, her second compilation album Ultimate Aaliyah was released in the UK by Background Records. The album, a three disc set, included a greatest hits audio CD and DVD.

Aaliyah was featured in the Drake song "Enough Said", which was released online on August 5, 2012 and was produced by Noah Shebib. Jomo Hankerson announced four days after the song's release that a posthumous album was being produced and scheduled to be released by the end of 2012 by Blackground Records. It was reported to have 16 unreleased songs and have contributions from longtime Aaliyah's longtime contributors Timbaland and Missy Elliot. However, the two soon dismissed rumors that they were involved in the project and Elliot's manager said: "Although Missy and Timbaland always strive to keep the memory of their close friend alive, we have not been contacted about the project nor are there any plans at this time to participate. We've seen the reports surfacing that they have been confirmed to participate but that is not the case. Both Missy and Timbaland are very sensitive to the loss still being felt by the family so we wanted to clear up any misinformation being circulated."

Aaliyah was featured on the a new track by Chris Brown, "Don't Think They Know"; with Aaliyah singing the song's hook. The video featured holographic versions of Aaliyah and the song is set to appear on Brown's upcoming sixth studio album. In January 2014, producer Noah "40" Shebib confirmed that the posthumous album was shelved due to the negative reception surrounding Drake's involvement and mentioned that Aaliyah's mother Diane said she did not want the album out, which was "enough" for Shebib to walk "away very quickly".

Legacy Edit

Influence Edit

Several artists such as Beyonce, Adele, Ciara, Monica, Chris Brown, Rihanna, Azealia Banks, Sevyn Streeter and Kelly Rowland have stated that she has been an influence on them. Drake has said she has had the biggest impact on his career of any artist and has a tattoo of her on his back. She was honored at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards by Janet Jackson, Missy Elliot, Timbaland, Ginuwine and her brother Rashad.

That same year, her name was ranked by the United States Social Security Administration as one of the 100 most popular names for newborn girls. Aaliyah responded to this during an interview: "That's great. I've met a lot of people where they're like, 'You know, I named my daughter after you and could you sign an autograph to my daughter' and it's Aaliyah so yeah a lot of babies have been named after me which is an honor and sweet."[23] Her brother Rashad said her legacy was that you can achieve your dreams, no matter what.[7]

Career path Edit

An ongoing discussion is what Aaliyah's career would have become had she survived past her death. Some have speculated a successful career in the music industry, similar to that of Beyonce, who's career took off following her death. Others have expressed their view that she would have most likely been reduced in fame similar to Brandy and Monica. This has been disputed by the numerous film roles she had been assigned and it is speculated that she would have continued a successful film career given the roles she had already signed for. There has been a critique regarding the amount of attention she has received since she died, similar to that of other deceased musicians such as Michael Jackson, who died eight years after Aaliyah in 2009.

Biopic Edit

A movie set to air on Lifetime titled "Aaliyah: Princess of R&B" is in the works. Aaliyah's family has expressed their objection to the film and in June 2014 released a press statement regarding the film: "Aaliyah was more than a singer, she was -and is still – an American music icon whose legacy continues to live on and influence today’s music culture, just as Ray Charles, Notorious B.I.G., Selena and Johnny Cash.

Considering the magnitude of her fans’ affection alone, she deserves to have a tribute much more grand than a television network debut that won’t even consider the perspectives of those who were closest to Aaliyah.

Disregarding the families and dishonoring the legacies of celebrated figures who have passed on, big networks want to exploit their stories for a buck. We’re here to make it clear that it’s not okay!

Lifetime Television is trying to dictate the status of our heroes, our heroines and – in this case – our beloved Aaliyah. We implore everyone to call Lifetime Television, send emails and bombard social media so they know we demand respect for our cultural icons.

We will not sit idly by while they misrepresent and reap profits from our luminaries. There is more at stake than the public could imagine.”[36] Zendaya Coleman was cast to play Aaliyah on June 16 and many fans questioned whether or not she was "black enough" to portray Aaliyah. Zendaya, the daughter of a Caucasian mother and African-American father, stated that her ethnicity should not matter and only her ability to act should be taken into account. Coleman stepped down shortly after being cast. The biopic storyline has received criticism as well.[37]

Alexanda Shipp was announced to play Aaliyah in the film on July 18, 2014 by Wendy Williams on her television show.[38] Coleman released a statement after this congratulating Shipp for landing the role. She also clarified why she chose to discontinue her involvement with the film. “Let me just explain something. The reason why I chose not to do the Aaliyah movie had nothing to do with the haters or the people telling me I couldn’t do it, I wasn’t talented enough, or I wasn’t black enough. The main reasons were the production value wasn’t there, there were complications with the music rights, and I just felt like it wasn’t being handled delicately considering the situation. And I tried my best to reach out to the family on my own, and I wrote a letter, but I was unable to do so therefore I felt not really morally okay with moving forward with the project.”[39]

Discography Edit

See also Edit

Notes Edit

  • Drake was fifteen years old when she died, the same age as Aaliyah was when she released her debut album.
  • Every public figure that Aaliyah was romantically involved with was older than her by at least five years.
  • Aaliyah's funeral was held on the seventh anniversary of her marriage to R. Kelly.
  • Both of the artists to use her on their tracks during the 2010s, Drake and Chris Brown, were romantically involved with Barbadian singer Rihanna, who has also been influenced by Aaliyah.

References Edit

  1. Farley, p. 20.
  3. Farley, p. 22.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Farley, p. 23.
  5. Aaliyah on Vibe
  6. 6.0 6.1 Farley, p. 26.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Behind the Music documentary
  9. Farley, p. 103.
  10. Sutherland, p. 20.
  11. July 1996 radio interview
  12. 12.0 12.1
  13. Ray J says he met Aaliyah
  14. Video of her performing national anthem
  16. 16.0 16.1
  18. Farley, p. 10.
  19. Shaq offers apologies for fabricated affairs
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 article published after her death
  21. Farley, p. 9.
  22. 1991–1995: Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number
  23. 23.0 23.1 Interview in Paris
  24. Interview where she spoke of what she liked in men
  25. Rashad's statements
  29. Timbaland reveals feelings for Aaliyah
  30. Timbaland's feelings for Aaliyah (TV Fab)
  31. Timbaland's feelings for Aaliyah (Clutch Magazine)
  34. Damon Dash Says Every Day With Aaliyah Was Special
  35. "Aaliyah" Rolling Stone Review
  36. Aaliyah's family's statement on film
  37. Coleman steps down
  38. Announcement
  39. Aaliyah biopic: Zendaya Coleman congratulates Alexandra Shipp on replacing her in Lifetime movie
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