It would be an understatement to say the legacy of late R&B singer/actress Aaliyah has been in a state of duress in recent times. The past week alone saw many across social media outraged over her placement on Rolling Stone‘s now-controversial 200 Best Singers Of All Time list, in addition to her name yet again being linked to a past abuser thanks to Lifetime Network airing the final chapter of Surviving R. Kelly earlier this week.
Amongst the newly-revealed information comes shocking allegations from a new victim who claims to have witnessed seeing a sex tape between the late vocalist and the man in question, who himself was sentenced to 30 years behind bars last year for decades of sex crimes committed against young women and men alike. From fault being put on her own mother to slight blame Aaliyah herself has gotten for not “speaking up” in time to avoid future victims, the trending conversations involving the undisputed Princess Of R&B have been less than regal to say the least.
However, all that’s been said in recent times about Aaliyah Dana Haughton, or in place of her absence, only further proves why she will forever be on the minds of millions when it comes to her heavenly voice and overall impact on the music industry.
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Vocally, to say Aaliyah can’t sing is to not understand the technical side of musical notation. Of course octave levels make a huge difference when it comes to hitting notes, and big voices like that of Mariah Carey and fellow late soul queen Whitney Houston will always be the ones that send chills down your spine. However, even the loudest of singers have a hard time mastering their falsetto voice, or being able to transition from going so low in their head register to the high pitch of melismatic bliss; Aaliyah had that on lock to perfection by her teen years, and easily would’ve matured into her voice with age much like ’90s contemporaries Brandy and Monica.
In terms of those Surviving R. Kelly allegations, a lot of it can be described as just that: allegations! Made strictly based on a 30-year recollection and with zero proof, the claim made by victim Ebonié Doyle, who even boldly self-described herself as a “body double” of Aaliyah for Kelly’s pleasure, feels hard to believe when you later found out she was still around Kelly and even had her own daughters calling him “uncle.”
To add even more insult to injury, Doyle was the lead video vixen in Kelly’s video for his TP.3 Reloaded single “Playa’s Only” released in 2005. The abuse she describes at the hands of R. Kelly allegedly began in 1994.
Of course, the most heartbreaking of it all is the flack being levied at Aaliyah’s mom, Diane Haughton, that should be reserved fully for Aaliyah’s uncle, Barry Hankerson. Everything said in regards to the neglect of Mrs. Haughton and her husband, the late Michael Haughton who passed away back in 2012, is unwarranted and extremely offensive to a family (including Aaliyah’s surviving brother, Rashad Haughton) who still grieve the premature loss of their youngest offspring. Alluding that Mrs. Haughton herself was having an affair with Kelly disrespects the strong bond Aaliyah worked so hard to present of her family to the world while still alive.
Is it so hard to believe that Aaliyah, at 15 or 16 years old, simply chose her skyrocketing career over participating in a criminal trial that would’ve maybe put Kelly away for a few years tops and completely halted her One In A Million claim to fame altogether?
In short, there’s nothing Aaliyah nor her immediate family — excluding Barry Hankerson! — could’ve done that would’ve stopped R. Kelly from turning into the monster he was going decades overtime to become. His insatiable need to go after underage girls and boys is in no way on Baby Girl or The Haughtons.
In closing, and with the approach of what would-be Aaliyah’s 44th birthday on January 16, we implore everyone out there to put a little more respect on Baby Girl’s name. Whether it’s talking on her vocal talent or digging up dirt from three decades ago, be sure to mention that her legacy also includes a promising career in Hollywood, three multiplatinum-selling studio albums, nominations plus accolades received from top awards shows and ultimately a meteoric, multifaceted career that was entering an innovative new phase just before her fateful crash on August 25, 2001.
You, and your angelic voice, will forever be missed and mentioned, Aaliyah.
Rest in real peace.
‘Surviving’ To Singing: Why Aaliyah’s Voice Still Matters was originally published on blackamericaweb.com