The Aaliyah Controversy
It seems like 2012 is the year for dead American celebs to be making come backs via headlines, or should I rather say their families.
First it was the Jacksons now it seems like Aaliyah’s family members are about to go head to head amongst one another, with Drake in the mix of things. I hope things don’t get too messy, because I do not wish to see Drake hitting poor Aaliyah’s parents with bottles.
It was announced earlier in the year that there would be a new Aaliyah album out with unreleased material. As a fan I was very excited and could not wait to hear new Aaliyah vocals, because from the early 2000s it had been reported that there were about 50 Unreleased Aaliyah songs in her vault. At some point Missy Elliott was said to be producing a posthumous album with other artists singing the verses Aaliyah never got to finish. Eight years later we are still waiting for the project.
Now it seems like Drake who never met Aaliyah, but is a huge Stan, so much that he has two tattoos of Aaliyah on his back. (I love BabyGirl, but am not that hectic).
Drake seems to have gotten legal access to Aaliyah’s unreleased material and will co-executively produce the upcoming Aaliyah album, and has since released a new Aaliyah song featuring himself called; “Enough Said”.
And this is where the controversy begins…
Shortly after it was announced that Drake would be heading the new Aaliyah project, Rashad Haughton; Aaliyah’s older brother posted on her official FaceBook fan page that the family had nothing to do with a new Aaliyah album and were not supporting it.
Fans then began questioning whether Aaliyah’s close friends and long time collaborators; Missy Elliott and Timbaland would be involved in the project?
Missy replied on Twitter and said that she knows nothing about a new Aaliyah album and no one had approached her to work on it.
Aaliyah’s record company (which is owned by her uncle and cousin) later released a statement that confirmed the Aaliyah album in the works, but denied Drake being the executive producer and assured fans that Missy and Timbaland will be involved in the project.
A few hours later the same record company retracted the first statement and then confirmed that Drake is in fact producing the album.
Missy and Timbaland have also since officially stated that they are not part of the album, due to the fact that the family is still grieving and feeling the full impact of Aaliyah’s loss.
Messy! Messy! Messy! I tell you.
Personally I do welcome a new Aaliyah album, but if it is not going through the correct channels I am really not for it but also on the other hand, I need to raise an eyebrow to Aaliyah’s family.
I know you can never recover from the loss of a child or sibling; it’s a pain that never heals, I understand that but it’s been 11 years!
As much as Aaliyah was their child, she lived a life that exposed her to millions of fans worldwide, so to some extent she also belonged to the world.
She left behind fans that miss her, mostly because she left them in her prime and if there is Aaliyah work out there that could bring some comfort to the fans and also carry Aaliyah’s legacy to future generations, I am all for it.
There was also an Aaliyah Biopic that was given a huge budget by one of the biggest movie producing companies in America. Apparently the family also objected to this movie. To a certain extent in their grief, Aaliyah’s family is also being a little bit selfish.
At some point or another that movie is going to go ahead, with or without their approval, just like the album is going ahead. So would they rather have their daughter’s legacy be represented by people who didn’t know her or would they rather have input in her posthumous projects, so that they give the Aaliyah projects the dignified representation they only best could.
On the last song of her critically acclaimed and game changing album; “One In A Million” Aaliyah sings; “I came to the world to give my love to all my fans across the world. I came to give love…”
And in one of her last interviews she says; “I want to be remembered as an intrinsically good person and an All-around entertainer”.
Therefore I feel if new Aaliyah material should be put out, it would be honoring her legacy, what she represented and making sure that her icon/ legend status is carried to the next generation.
As it is, I as a fan already find myself defending her legacy on Twitter to ignorant “Born-Frees”, who question why she is referred to as a legend.
Aaliyah was the youngest black performer and youngest female to perform at the Oscars. With one album; “One In A Million’, She along side Missy and Timbaland changed the way R&B sounded, and till today that sound still resonates in Modern day urban music, Visually she imaged herself in such a unique way that your Rihanna’s and Ciara’s still copy her style.
Yes death may have elevated her much more quickly to the icon/legend status, but when she was alive she was riding in her own lane and paving ways.
To me that is the kind of stuff that defines and separates the normal celebrity from the iconic/legendary celebrities.
Here’s food for thought to the young ones who question Aaliyah’s legacy?
If Aaliyah is referred to as a legend/ icon only because she died young. Why is Left-Eye (who died a few months after Aaliyah) not spoken about in the same breath?
By Zamani Khethelo