I remember riding in the car with my friends that evening and as usual, we’re jamming to the radio being loud laughing and stuff … and as soon as whatever song was playing ended – the talent announced how they got word that Aaliyah died in a plane crash leaving the Bahamas’ Abaco Island, where her and her team had just completed the “Rock the Boat” video.
Man … we all got quiet. Even the radio seemed like it got quiet. It’s like the world just stopped and I was thinking … “why her, man… She wasn’t finished yet”. But who was I to say she wasn’t finished?
Now that I’m older and learned to reevaluate life, she actually did A LOT! From birthing such a creative fashionable style that we are STILL rocking today to sounds I STILL hear in songs. What’s funny is I STILL bump her music when I’m going through a crush-phase (lol) or a confident streak : I jam me some Aaliyah!
1. She performed on ‘Star Search’ and sang “My Funny Valentine” in 1989.
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2. Aaliyah was the youngest singer to perform at the Oscars with 1998’s “Journey to the Past” from ‘Anastasia.’ She was only 19.
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3. Aaliyah’s name means “highest, most exalted one” in Arabic.
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4. She is the niece of music legend Gladys Knight.
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5. Throughout her short career, Aaliyah won more than 30 awards, including Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist at the 2002 American Music Awards, Best Actress for ‘Queen of the Damned’ at the 2002 BET Awards and Top Hip-Hop/R&B Artist of the Year at the 2000 Billboard Music Awards.
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6. Aaliyah was engaged to music mogul Dame Dash at the time of her passing.
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7. The video treatment for her song “4 Page Letter” was written by her brother Rashad.
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8. She modeled for Tommy Hilfiger, where she met BFF Kidada Jones.
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9. She was real-life BFFs with Quincy Jones’ daughter Kidada.
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10. She once had a bet with Missy Elliott about who would wear a dress first, because neither of them ever wore one.
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11. Her final interview was on “106 & Park” just five days before her passing.
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12. She was considered for the role of “Alex” in 2000’s “Charlie’s Angels” film. The role went to Lucy Liu because the filmmakers thought Aaliyah was too young.
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13. Aaliyah was nominated for an Academy Award for her song “Journey to the Past” from the animated film “Anastasia.” She lost to “My Heart Will Go On” from “Titanic.”
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14. She wore her hair covering her left eye, which was an homage to silver screen actress Veronica Lake, whose trademark peek-a-boo hair was worn over her right eye.
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15. “Rock The Boat” was written two years before it was released, because the label didn’t think Aaliyah was ready for such a sexual song.
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16. She was also set to play the title character in “Honey,” but the role went to Jessica Alba after her passing.
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17. Aaliyah’s toy orangutan, given to her by her grandmother, appeared in a scene in “Romeo Must Die.”
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18. In order to get accepted into the Detroit High School of Performing Arts, Aaliyah sang “Ave Maria” entirely in Latin.
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19. Her untimely death pushed Mary J. Blige to clean up her life after years of alcohol and drug abuse.
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20. She has been credited for helping redefine contemporary R&B and hip-hop, earning her the nicknames “Princess of R&B” and “Queen of Urban Pop.”