Aaliyah’s legacy lives on

Wendy Hernandez, Courier Staff

Aaliyah Haughton was born on Jan. 16, 1979,  in Brooklyn, New York. At the age of 12, she signed a contract with Jive Records and her uncle Barry Hankerson’s Blackground Records. At just 15 years old, she rose to fame after her first debut album Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number, which was released on May 24, 1994. This album debuted at No. 24 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 74,000 copies in just a week of its release. Aaliyah became the fresh face of R&B and continued to impact the music industry until her last album named after Aaliyah was released on July 7, 2001.

On Aug. 25, 2001, on her way back to the U.S. from the Bahamas, Aaliyah had just finished shooting a section of her music video Rock the Boat when all of sudden during takeoff, their plane crashed near the runway and a fire erupted which ended up killing her and nine of her colleagues. Her sudden death impacted many. She was only 22 and although she was very successful for her age and for a short span of time, she still had a lot more to come.

When she passed away it became very hard for her fans to find her music in apps such as Spotify, Google Play and Apple Music. The reason behind this issue was due to the fact that most of her music was owned by her music label Blackground Records. Because her uncle was the owner of that label, he had all the royalties. It has remained a mystery as to why her uncle would not allow companies to stream her songs and many theories have been speculated throughout the years. In August 2019, an account that appeared to belong to Hankerson tweeted out saying that her music would be released on Jan. 16, 2020, and would be available on platforms such as Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal and Amazon Prime. Many fans were upset when no music was released and went out on a Twitter rage and began a hashtag #FreeAaliyahMusic in order to express the frustration and the injustice to Aaliyah’s legacy.

On Aug. 25, 2020, on Aaliyah’s 19-year death anniversary, her estate tweeted out a picture that stated “To Our Loyal Fans: We are excited to announce that communication has commenced between the estate and various record labels about the status of Aaliyah’s music catalog, as well as its availability on streaming platforms in the near future. Thank you for your continued love and support. More updates to come!” Many media outlets shared the news and fans began to express their excitement by tweeting out how Aaliyah’s music will soon be on top of the charts once they are allowed to stream her music throughout all platforms.

Aaliyah’s music has been held for many years but her fans continue to show her love and support even after her death. The dedication these fans have to keep her legacy alive is unthinkable and many music artists wish to have die-hard fans like hers.