It’s mind blowing that we’re coming up on 20 years since the late, great Aaliyah passed away. Baby Girl may have lived a short life, but fortunately for us, we got to see her shine like the star that she is during the time we did have with her.
Aaliyah was living the good life at 22 years old; engaged to Dame Dash, finishing up her self titled third album, and making her mark on the film industry after starring in Romeo Must Die and Queen Of The Damned before tragedy struck. Decades after she got her wings, her vibrant legacy continues to live on. Everyone from Drake to J. Cole has sampled an Aaliyah track and paid homage to her every chance they get.
“Every Time I saw Aaliyah, she was happy. She had that presence that few people have.”- Beyonce
“Aaliyah has had probably the most impact on my career, because when I made a choice to start singing it was because of something that my father had told me which was, ‘There’s no rapper out there that sings and raps and does both things well… and in order to be successful you’re gonna need something other than just what everyone else is doing.”- Drake
In honor of Aaliyah’s life, taken too soon, we put together a gallery of facts that you probably didn’t know about the fallen star. Check those out below and be sure to check back for updates on the late queen’s music catalogue finally coming to Spotify this month. Rest in peace, Baby Girl.
1. A Star Is BornSource:Getty
Aaliyah performed on ‘Star Search’ at age 10 and sang “My Funny Valentine” in 1989.
2. Cinemas Biggest NightSource:Getty
Aaliyah was the youngest singer to perform at the Oscars with 1998’s “Journey to the Past” from ‘Anastasia.’ She was only 19.
3. R&B RoyaltySource:Getty
Aaliyah’s name means “highest, most exalted one” in Arabic.
4. It Runs In The FamilySource:Getty
Aaliyah is the niece of music legend Gladys Knight.
5. Trophies On Top Of TrophiesSource:Getty
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.
6. A Lost LoveSource:Getty
Aaliyah was engaged to music mogul Damon Dash at the time of her passing.
7. The Family Come UpSource:Getty
The video treatment for her song “4 Page Letter” was written by her brother Rashad.
8. She Had The LooksSource:Getty
She modeled for Tommy Hilfiger, where she met BFF Kidada Jones.
9. A Famous Ride Or DieSource:Getty
She was real-life BFFs with Quincy Jones’ daughter Kidada.
10. Put That On EverythingSource:Getty
She once had a bet with Missy Elliott about who would wear a dress first, because Aaliyah rarely wore one.
11. Final Words To The WorldSource:Getty
Her final interview was on “106 & Park” just five days before her passing.
12. A Missed OpportunitySource:Getty
She was considered for the role of “Alex” in the 2000’s “Charlie’s Angels” film. The role went to Lucy Liu because the filmmakers thought Aaliyah was too young.
13. A War Of AnthemsSource:Getty
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.”
14. A Covert Shout OutSource:Getty
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.
15. Let’s Talk About SexSource:Getty
“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.
16. Always A Leading LadySource:Getty
She was also set to play the title character in “Honey,” but the role went to Jessica Alba after her passing.
17. Grandma’s LoveSource:Getty
Aaliyah’s toy orangutan, given to her by her grandmother, appeared in a scene in “Romeo Must Die.”
18. Gifted From The StartSource:Getty
In order to get accepted into the Detroit High School of Performing Arts, Aaliyah sang “Ave Maria” entirely in Latin.
19. Inspiring The GreatsSource:Getty
Her untimely death pushed Mary J. Blige to clean up her life after years of alcohol and drug abuse.
20. She Got The TitlesSource:Getty
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.”