On this day in 2001, the world lost Aaliyah Dana Haughton.
I was in 3rd grade when Aaliyah passed away. I found out from a TIME Kids magazine from class. The cover was a picture of the plane crash ruins. It was weird for me to comprehend because I used to listen to "Are You Somebody?" everyday and see her on television all the time and suddenly, she was gone. This is the first time I realized how permanent death was and I cried for hours.
One of my favorite memories I have of being an Aaliyah fan was sneaking to watch 106 & Park so I could learn the dance to Rock The Boat. The simplicity of the choreography in that video influenced the type of choreography I began to make for songs and spawned my love for dance. I began to emulate her in small ways, from the way I did my hair to the clothes I wore. It wasn't until I was much older that I realized how big her influence was.
A lot of people dismiss Aaliyah as being overrated, using her sudden death as a reason people love her instead of her talent, as they do with many artists. I don't believe she is at all, she and her sound were ahead of its time. Supported by Timbaland and Missy Elliott, Aaliyah perfected the sound and style the women in that era were trying to achieve plus more. In the years since her death, she has inspired a lot of female artists including Ashanti and Ciara. With such a large amount of unreleased music, Aaliyah is still posthumously making collaborations with artists such as Chris Brown and Drake.
At the age of 22, Aaliyah's talent was gone too soon. Now that I am almost 22, I think about the impact she has left on the world at such a young age and I wonder about the legacy I will also leave. Aaliyah was the baby girl of the music industry, loved by everyone. Even with her scandalous history with R. Kelly, her talent and influence is undeniable. I will always love and miss Aaliyah.
Take a look at some of my favorite Aaliyah songs and let me know what your favorites are.