I’ve been thinking about Aaliyah a lot these days.
First I saw that hot, hot new Ciara video for Like a Boy, and I love that song and have ’nuff admiration for Ciara, but when I see her dancing I inevitably wind up thinking about Baby Girl. And wondering what she’d be doing now.
Hey, her and Ciara could well have made a killer duet by now (with Timbaland and Missy all up in the video, like the good old days).
The clip with Timbaland was so fascinating to me on so many levels (I have mad respect for Timbo), and hearing him share feelings about Aaliyah really, really touched me. Even when he was just casually talking about it, the pain was real. I knew where he was coming from. Obviously I never knew Aaliyah, so I can only imagine the heartbreak that her family and friends felt. Feel.
Aaliyah’s death hit me harder than Kurt Cobain’s did, and I was a huge grunge music head at that time. But all conspiracy theories aside, Kurt Cobain meant to kill himself. He was heading in that direction. He wanted to die. And Aaliyah, she had so much further to go. So much promise and hope.
I didn’t even believe it when my friend called me up, or when they were playing all of her songs on the radio that day. But when I saw those dates, 1979-2001, I cried and cried. We were the same age, and I hadn’t realized that before because she accomplished so much in such a short time. Just 22 years old. It’s just like Tupac — when you realize he was just 25 when he died, it makes his death seem all the more senseless and tragic. And Biggie was just 24. They were so, so young. They all had so much more to do, so many more places to go.
This was quite the morbid conversation to have, but my husband and I were just listening to The Beatles (we’re both huge fans) and talking about John Lennon. How great he was. How important to music history. I can only imagine how John Lennon’s death must have affected the world. At 40 he had lived a ridiculously full and prolific life. I just wish he was still around today, to lead protests and anti-war rallies, and to be the outspoken political figure he was. Who would Lennon be collaborating with now? (Eddie Vedder and Neil Young come immediately to mind, but who knows, he could have been getting down with Nas, rocking with a reunited Rage Against the Machine, or off on some experimental Bjork tip).
So what would Aaliyah be doing now? A little of everything, I think. She said it herself in this interview on the Rosie show, she took her acting very seriously. She was supposed to be in The Matrix, and her film career was about to take off. According to Wikipedia, she was supposed to star in Honey, was considered for a role in Charlie’s Angels, and was going to star in a Whitney Houston produced remake of Sparkle. (Wow.)
You know she’d have a hot clothing line too — all of these R&B chicks have one now, but I am sure that hers would have been much cooler than any House of Dereon nonsense. FYI, true fans — in her honor, her family has created an official Aaliyah clothing line, featuring teeshirts and handbags. Proceeds benefit the Aaliyah Memorial Fund.
Her uptempo jams are among some of my favorite songs ever. When I remember Aaliyah, I don’t want to be sad. It’s easy to cry when thinking about her, and in every interview I’ve seen about her, her family and friends all say she would want people to smile when they remember her. So I try to think of Are You That Somebody, and More Than a Woman, and Try Again, songs that take me back to my teenage years when life seemed simpler.
So all of these random thoughts have been floating around my head, and bam — this morning I put on my TV and the video for We Need a Resolution was on. And it hit me, I don’t need to wait until August 25 to remember her and write this. I can say this today, while it’s fresh and urgent.
This is my way of just expressing how much her music and her spirit meant to me, just as a fan. I miss you, Aaliyah. We all do. Nobody can take your place in our hearts.
We Need a Resolution is my throwback jam of the day.
What’s your favorite Aaliyah song, bellas? I know you’ve got one… or a couple!