Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Day a Young and Talented Superstar Died: "Aaliyah"

Aaliyah was a talented R&B singer, actress, dancer, and model(she had modeled for Tommy Hilfiger). She had also appeared in several feature films.

She became internationally famous in the mid-90s and 2001 with such hits as “Miss You”, and "Rock the Boat".

She had sold more than 32 million records worldwide. She was at the height of her young career. Then on August 25, 2001, she died at the age of 22.

She was born Aaliyah Dana Haughton in the Brooklyn New York neighborhood known as Bedford-Stuyvesant. Her name ‘Aaliyah' was given to her by her maternal grandmother. The name is said to mean: "Highest, Most Exalted, The Best" in Arabic.

She had dreamed of being a singer at an early age and appeared on 'Star Search' at the age of 10. She spent years honing and crafting her skills as a singer, dancer, actress, and model.

In 1992, Aaliyah’s uncle and then manager Barry Hankerson, introduced her to popular R&B singer R. Kelly. Kelly produced and wrote several songs for her album: ‘Age Aint Nothing but a Number‘. The album was released in 1994 and produced several worldwide hits.

Aaliyah was also attending art school and in 1997 graduated with a 4.0 from the Detroit School of Arts. In 2000, Aaliyah appeared in her first starring role in “Romeo Must Die”, with Jet Li. Aaliyah and Timbaland received executive producer credit for the film's soundtrack and she contributed several songs: "Are You Feelin Me?, " I don’t Wanna", and "Come Back in One Piece," a duet she did with DMX, who also had a role in the film.

Aaliyah made history when "Try Again" became the first song to ever reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 based solely on the strength of its radio airplay. In 2001, Aaliyah appeared in the vampire film "The Queen of the Damned". Aaliyah also had a supporting role in the two sequels to the hit “The Matrix”.

Other films in which she was due to appear before her tragic death were “Honey”, “State Property 2”and the remake of the 1976 film “Sparkle”, to have been produced by Whitney Huston. By this time Aaliyah had sold more than 32 million records worldwide, and was at the height of her career.

In August of 2001, Aaliyah and several members from her record label, her two bodyguards, and a film production crew had flown to the Bahamas to make her music video entitled “Rock the Boat”.

As the video shoot rapped days earlier than scheduled, Aaliyah and the others with the production were excited and decided to head back to the U.S.

On August 25, 2001, Aaliyah, her hair stylist Eric Foreman, Anthony Dodd, her security guard Scott Gallin, Douglas Kratz (a director of video production for Virgin Records), stylist Christopher Maldonado, Keith Wallace and Gina Smith (both employees of the Blackground label), and pilot Luis Morales III boarded a twin engine Cessna 402B. Sources also say that the production team had loaded heavy equipment onto the plane.
The plane crashed shortly after take off and all passengers were killed.

During an investigation into the crash, according to the NTSB(National Transportation Safety Board), "The airplane was seen lifting off the runway, and then nose down, impacting in a marsh on the south side of the departure end of runway 27', in the Bahamas."

It was later reported that the pilot, Luis Morales III, had not been approved to pilot the plane he was attempting to fly. Additionally, an autopsy performed on Morales revealed alcohol and traces of cocaine in his blood.

Investigations also determined the plane had been over its total gross weight by several hundred pounds. Two of the passengers weighed roughly 300 pounds and most of the passengers sat in the rear of the plane, where heavy equipment and baggage were also stored. The NTSB report stated that "the total gross weight of the airplane was substantially exceeded."
It was concluded that the pilots inexperience and the weight of the plane caused the fatal crash.
At the time of her death, Aaliyah had also worked with such great artists and production teams as Missy Elliott and Timbaland.

On August 31, 2001 Aaliyah's funeral was held at Saint Ignatius Loyola Roman Catholic Church in Manhattan New York. Her body was later interred at the Rosewood Mausoleum in Ferncliff Cemetery, Hartsdale New York.

After her tragic death her songs “Miss you” and “ Rock the Boat” became hits Worldwide. She also recorded the following “If your girlfriend only knew”, “Back and Forth”, “Are you that Somebody?”,””More than a Women”,”Miss You”, “Try Again”.

The day the young and talented Aaliyah Dana Haughton died, the world lost yet another great talent.

Note: As of this writing there is a letter at the Offical Aaliyah website, written by Diane and Michael Haughton stating that "After deep thought and deliberation, we will be suspending (the website) effective immediately...". As well as closing the Aaliyah webstore and New York office.

This is just a partial list of books about Aaliyah: More than a Woman (2001) by Christopher John Farley.

Aaliyah: An R&B Princess in Words and Pictures (2002) by Kelly Kenyatta.

Aaliyah (2003) by Tim Footman.

Aaliyah Remembered: Her Life & The Person behind the Mystique(2005) by William Sutherland.

Source: wikipedia

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