It doesn’t seem that long ago, but 11 years today, you were shooting the last few scenes of what would’ve been your last music video, for a song that would sit in the hearts of millions of fans forever. A song that would later serve as one last gift from you, to us. From the behind the scenes footage BET shot, you looked so tired, but still seemed to be in good spirits. You were doing something you loved with people that you loved and I think that’s what was most important to you . I know that a lot of people right now wish that they could go back in time and somehow, some way, tell you not to even record the song at all, let alone change locations to shoot in the Bahamas. If that were to happen, there’s no telling what would have been.
As I write this letter, my thoughts are all over the place. Thoughts of what your family is feeling, the way your fans have felt about your passing, thoughts of what you could’ve been, both artistically and as a human being. A lot of things come to mind. You were really young and over the span of your career there was still so much that you could’ve done and as a young woman, it would have been amazing to see who you would’ve grown into as a person. There’s been talks over the years of how far you’d go and how many people would or wouldn’t be relevant but the one thing that always stands is that you were in a lane all your own and none of that other stuff really mattered. You knew what it meant to be unique by being yourself and that inspired so many to this day. Losing you was not only a huge blow to the music industry, it was a sincere heart break to your family and your fans.
I still remember the day I got the news. It was the first Monday of 6 grade and my mom turned on the news to show me. As the headline flashed on the screen I didn’t believe it. It was something I just KNEW in my heart of hearts would go away once I came home from school. I imagined the report later would be that you weren’t on board because of some unforeseen miracle and my world would be right. That wasn’t the case and when I came home from school that day, the story hadn’t changed.
Later in the week I wrote a song about you as well as a couple of letters to your family. I also drew a picture of you from the Aaliyah album that must have taken me a million redos to get right. My mom knew I wanted to send all of those things to your family so she called Blackground and asked how possible it was for that to happen. She came back in my room and told me that their offices were so full of flowers and mail that it was overwhelming and that I could send it but it may just stay there due to how many packages they were getting daily. We ended up overnighting the package and we prayed that mine would be the one to actually get to them. To this day, I still don’t know if it had, and I probably never will but at that time it was comforting to know that they were going to try. I have a weird kind of deja vu because, on this upcoming Monday, it will be the first day of school for myself and a few of my friends just like it was 11 years ago when the news broke.
One of the things that I’ve always heard was that, how can you miss someone that you’ve never met? Even tho I never personally knew you or met you, it’d be ridiculous to say that you didn’t have an impact on my life as a kid and even now. I guess for me it was a little different because we could’ve crossed paths. I hate to think that every time I was at my moms job, you could’ve been there promoting and that it would have been nothing to just wave or ask for a picture. There are so many things that I can list about why it feels the way it does, and how you’ve affected me but the fact of the matter is that I’ve always looked up to you and you not being here doesn’t seem right.
When you look up to someone as a kid and their gone through a tragedy, it can effect you even if you hadn’t met them. The impact someone has on your life is something that stays with you. Whether the image they portrayed was something you aspired to be, or if the words they said just inspired you, that’s a real connection and how can you not miss that? The same way our parents generation felt when Marvin Gaye died, is the same way this generation feels about you. It’s stuck in our minds, it doesn’t seem fair or real and it still doesn’t make sense.
To the Haughtons, thank you for sharing your child and her talents with us. No one misses her more than you guys and I continue to pray that you find peace in all of this. There’s no way any of us can feel what you guys feel and we never will. We got a glimpse of who she was and thank you for sharing those aspects with us.
To the fans, Aaliyah loved us as much as she loved her family. She always made time for the fans and always wanted us to understand where she was coming from with her life and her music. It definitely sucks that she’s not here but at the same time, she’s in a better place away from all of the issues in this world and that makes it bittersweet. Please remember to always respect her and the wishes of the Haughton family just like we would want for our own loved ones.
To “The Supafriends” and the rest of Aaliyah’s colleagues, thank you for giving us the music we have today and creating a sound that helped define a generation. I pray that for those closest to her, that you too find comfort and still feel the love she had for you all. You guys were a big part of her legacy always will be.
Aaliyah you are definitely missed and will always be remembered. Today you’re remembered just how you wanted to be. A full on entertainer and a good person. You’re impact is still felt by many and you have definitely inspired many of artists from fashion, to music over the years. Nothing else matters anymore but that. The drama, the speculation, none of that matters. You left a legacy that will continue to affect people and speak for itself. That’s all that truly matters and I think that’s all you would want to matter. There’s no one else like you and there never will be. We love you and thank you for being that one in a million star.
“You have to enjoy your job; you should wake up every day and love what you do.. I honestly do… From the bottom of my heart to the depths of my soul, I am truly happy…Everything is worth it. The hard work, the times when you’re tired, the times where you’re a bit sad… In the end, it’s all worth it because it really makes me happy. There’s nothing better than loving what you do.” -Aaliyah