Note: This is not a dig on the life of Aaliyah Dana Haughton. With all that she went through in her short life, the re-release of her last album (Aaliyah), and this posthumous album being released during this Black History Month, I had to weigh in on this before the month ends.
She deserves celebration and rest. -JBH
Aaliyah would have been 43 this year.
Yet, it seems right that she is frozen at 22. When I think of the day she died, I was devastated. This was also on the heels of her being incredible as Queen Akasha in Queen Of The Damned!
As talented as you all want to believe Beyoncé is (and she is, trust me she is!), Aaliyah was as well. The fact that her life ended in a plane crash, is creepy and heartbreaking. Even writing about this now, twenty years later is still hard! She was the only celebrity I can truly say I wanted to be like. From style, to make up, to her always having big glasses!
I wanted to be Aaliyah!
If the quintessential Black girl had a mascot–I figured that was her. Even now, she still is.
With her last album being available on Apple Music as of late last year, I downloaded it! I wanted this piece of her that I had only had on CD…when I was 20. Yet, I feel the same way about hearing her voice as I do when I hear Whitney Houston. It’s a reminder that they are truly gone, and nothing else new is coming from them: the loss feels greater.
With the ‘release’ of her posthumous album (with no other women on this album!), I have no desire to download this. None at all. What I want the world to remember about this woman is that she was talented.
Aaliyah should no longer be solely attached to the craziness of R. Kelly. Or her relationship with Damon ‘Dame’ Dash. Or the Lifetime Movie. Or her raggedy uncle who runs her estate whom [it seems] made this a cash grab! Black women are always the ones who suffer the most under capitalism, even after death.
As this month ends, I want to remind you all, my dear Torches, that no Black woman–living or dead–should be defined or be boxed in by the experiences she had!
Aaliyah is allowed to rest, to be celebrated, and missed by those of us who remember her light, her voice, still trying to get that cane routine down from the Try Again video, and a waiting for a bae to walk us up the wall to whup somebody too!
Rest in peace, Aaliyah. You deserve it. Tell Billie I said, “Hi.”