Generally people only remember a day when a significant event happens. I cannot recall what I was doing on August 25, 1985 or August 25, 1992, but I can recollect exactly what I was doing on the morning of August 26, 2001 when I found out that Aaliyah had died in a plane crash the night before. I was preparing to celebrate my boyfriend’s (at the time) birthday. I had recently arrived back from a vacation/pre-birthday trip with my boyfriend to the Bahamas and decided to pay my mom a visit. Her distressed face instantly wiped the smile from mine. She asked if I had heard what happened; I said no. When she told me that Aaliyah had perished in a plane crash in the Bahamas, a place I had just returned from three days ago, I was devastated. I fell into a depression that only ceased when the events of 9/11 occurred.
I was 27 at the time and refused to believe that someone so endearing could be gone in such a flash. I had been rocked by the deaths of artists of my generation before – the deaths of Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. and the suicide of Kurt Cobain were all sudden. But their deaths were all violent and one could assert that the lives they led somehow contributed in their demise. Aaliyah’s death was an accident – something that should never had been and could only be attributed to fate. At that time, Aaliyah’s death symbolized the extinction of a promise. Aaliyah’s was just starting to break out – with roles in Romeo Must Die and Queen of the Damned her star was just starting shoot into the stratosphere. The trio of Aaliyah, Missy Elliot and Timbaland was undeniable. The futuristic production of Missy and Timbaland mixed with Aaliyah’s melodic soprano vocals added a much needed layer to R&B in the 90s. Her music reminded me of the songs created by Donna Summer and Giorgio Moroder –progressive yet timeless. Her style was sexy but not slutty. She exuded a sweetness that was palpable through television screens and radio speakers. Her sincerity was commendable. There was no one that was not in love with Aaliyah; her death almost seemed like a cruel joke. Only there was no punch-line. Her catalog, albeit small, left an impression on R&B that can never be erased. Dying young, beautiful and full of promise places her in the pantheon of artisans like James Dean, Richie Valens and Buddy Holly.
It hard to believe that 10 years have passed since Aaliyah’s death – life has served many changes, but since her passing there has remained one constant when it comes to the Princess of R& B, the public’s love for her is everlasting. Yesterday celebrities and fans alike took to Twitter, Facebook, etc. to express their love and remembrance for Aaliyah and I shall do the same. Aaliyah, your presence in music is still missed. Thank you for the music you gave us before you were so abruptly taken away. May your sweet soprano tone continue to brighten the skies of heaven.
FAMERS here are my Top 3 Aaliyah videos: