Today marks the 11th anniversary of the death of R&B’s eternal “baby girl”, Aaliyah Dana Haughton. In August 25th 2001, after filming a video for her single “Rock The Boat” in Bahamas, Aaliyah and eight others, including her personal entourage and the pilot, died instantly when their plane burst into flames shortly after take off. The world of hip hop and R&B, artists and fans alike, came to a stand still. She was just 22 years old, she was beautiful, she was at the peak of her career both as an artist and an actress. How could her life be so cruelly ripped away from her?
In my better hearing days, I was an R&B junkie, and I adored Aaliyah. Watching her grow as an artist and as a woman was a pleasure as she was so graceful in her attitude and inspiring to her young female fans. Her vocals weren’t Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston league, yet they were classically defined. Sultry smooth twinged with a seductive songbird coo that mesmerised her listeners. Production beats, first by R. Kelly, followed by Missy Elliot and Timbaland, made her songs both club and chart hits. “Back and Forth”, “At Your Best” (one of my favourites), “If Your Girl Only Knew”, “One In A Million”, “Try Again” and the posthumous worldwide hit “More Than A Woman” are just a few of the unforgettable songs she left behind in her legacy.
For me, the hardest thing about the passing of Aaliyah is that I often wonder where she would be in her career now. She had so much growing to do, so much more talent to offer. In my eyes, she’ll always be the Princess of R&B. Back in the late 90’s, Aaliyah and female artists like TLC and Mary J Blige, to name a few, helped push R&B mainstream, especially in the UK. White and Asian kids were pumping Aaliyah’s tunes just as much as the black kids were. Stuffy pop and indie rock music shows were playing her videos and mainstream UK radio were playing her hits on a regular.
Eleven years on, I pray for her family and close friends because if I’m still torn by her death, only the love of God can help them through their grief. I still play her music occasionally and sat with pride, instead of sadness, through Romeo Must Die recently with my eight year old daughter, stating that before the likes of the popular Beyonce and Rihanna, there was Aaliyah. She put a step in paving the way for artists like them. However big or small the step, opinions vary amongst R&B fans but it can’t be denied. That’s why, to me, Aaliyah will always remain irreplaceable, unforgettable and a shining superstar.
Aaliyah We Miss You
INFORMATION SOURCE : MIA, with thanks
- DMX Shares Memories of Aaliyah 11 Years After Her Death — Exclusive (theboombox.com)
- Aaliyah – Will Drake Produce Aaliyah’s New Posthumous Album? (contactmusic.com)
- Missy Elliott On New Aaliyah Album: “No One Told Me” (kysdc.com)
- Aaliyah (mittsandmayor.wordpress.com)