Today marks 14 years since the untimely death of singing sensation Aaliyah Haughton. I was 14 years old when I heard the news of Aaliyah passing away. She was in the middle of her media tour and shooting music videos for her self-titled album, Aaliyah. I remember just being excited. Excited for her, excited for high school, just overjoyed. When the news broke that Aaliyah perished with her friends and crew, it hit the fans of New York so hard, because this was where she lived and spent most of her time. We were not prepared for the loss of her, no more than we were prepared for 9/11 just two weeks later. New York was crippled.
Growing up in the Bronx during the 90s, we were exposed to all genres of music. Aaliyah was one of the most admired R&B artists because she was hip hop too. She had this unique style that sadly couldn’t be duplicated. She knew who she was and wasn’t afraid to be herself. During the times of Biggie Smalls, Jay-Z, Lil Kim and Foxy Brown, Aaliyah showed us that although she was raised in Detroit, she was still a Brooklynite by heart.
Every girl I knew growing up wanted something, Aaliyah-esque. From her hair that swooped gently over her eye to the fly (yes, this was a term for dope or hot) Tommy Hilfiger gear she was rocking to her petite and feminine frame. Aaliyah was the poster girl for being the IT girl and everyone loved her for it. Thinking about Aaliyah, 14 years after her passing, I often wonder where would she be in her career at this time. Would she still be making music? Would she had settled down and gotten married? Would she be KILLING the game right now? Or would she had taken a step back and let the new generation have their shine? Whatever Aaliyah would have decided to do, it would not have changed the fact that she was “Baby Girl”, the original Hip Hop Princess and truly one of a kind. And she will never be forgotten for all of her accomplishments in the industry.
I hope that whoever you are, that is reading this tribute to Aaliyah, takes a moment to reflect on their memories of her. Even listen to a song or two and let her serenade you. I ask that you also take time to appreciate the artists of the past who is still making music today. Appreciate their efforts to entertain us as their fans because they work extremely hard to make music that will last forever and ever.