Ten years ago today, R&B singer and actress Aaliyah Dana Houghton, known simply as Aaliyah, died in a plane crash in The Bahamas. Tragically, Aaliyah was only twenty-two years old when she passed. She managed, however, to make a definitive impact on pop culture during her short but fruitful time on Earth. The Brooklyn native began her recording career at the impressive age of fourteen. Throughout and past the nineties, Aaliyah collaborated with artists like Missy Elliott and Timbaland & Magoo, and contributed to the soundtracks of Dr. Dolittle and Anastasia. Some of her more memorable songs included “If Your Girl Only Knew” and “Try Again.”
Aaliyah’s film career was brief: she starred as the Juliet incarnation in Romeo Must Die, a Shakespeare adaptation. She also played the title role, a sadistic vampire, in Queen of the Damned, which was released after the star’s death.
My generation remembers Aaliyah fondly. Her music was a staple of every junior high schooler’s springtime soundtrack; I recall one instance in sixth grade, in which a friend and I spent an entire day listening to the radio, and celebrating the frequent reprisal of “Try Again.”
Aaliyah was the sort of artist that had just begun to blossom. We all felt as if she’d be of monumental significance within due time. Although her unexpected passing cut this short, her standing contributions should not be devalued: Aaliyah made some wonderful music, and will always be remembered for doing so.