Mason & Starr

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Today marks 21 years since passing of Detroit’s R&B princess Aaliyah. Aaliyah has been gone for 21 years, but her legacy continues to lives on. At the time of her tragic, untimely death in 2001, Aaliyah was one of the biggest stars in music and entertainment. Aaliyah was only 22 years old at the time of her death, nevertheless, she had already made a significant impact on the music industry, film industry, and even business industry.

Born in 1979 in Brooklyn, New York, Aaliyah Dana Haughton was a model and actress. Her family moved to Detroit when she was five years old. As a child, Aaliyah performed in choirs and churches and even took vocal lessons. While At Gesu Elementary School, she performed in the play “Annie.” She eventually attended Detroit Performing Arts High School, where she earned a 4.0 GPA while managing an exploding music career. As a musician, Aaliyah often credited her family with helping her succeed. According to her biography, Aaliyah said, “When I told my parents that I wanted to embark along this path, they were with me all the way. They were the ones who shuttled me back and forth to my vocal lessons, dance lessons, private guitar, play rehearsals at Gesu Elementary School and they even saw to it that the sets for the plays were transported to Marygrove College. What could be more important?”

At age 12, Aaliyah signed with Jive Records, and her uncle Barry Hankerson’s Blackground Records introduced her to R. Kelly. As a 14-year-old, Aaliyah released her first album, “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number.” Its first single, “Back And Forth,” reached the top five on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached No.1 on the R&B charts. Following the success of her first album, controversy surrounding her relationship with Kelly emerged, including allegations that the two were secretly married. Aaliyah was 15 years old at the time. It was reported that her parents had the marriage annulled in 1995, but her and Kelly continued to deny claims of the marriage and the annulment.

Aaliyah continued to have success in the music and entertainment business until her untimely plane crash death in 2001. She stared in films like “Romeo Must Die” and “Queen Of The Damned.” In 2001, Aaliyah’s third and final studio album, self-titled “Aaliyah,” debuted as the No. 2 album on the Billboard 200 chart. Aaliyah will forever be not only Detroit’s R&B princess, but music’s R&B princess. Detroit loves and misses Aaliyah very much. RIP to our “Babygirl” Aaliyah.