I will forget never when Aaliyah died. I was visiting my mom and had fallen asleep on the couch. She shook me and asked me if I had known about the singer. She had been watching television when news broke that Aaliyah died in a plane crash. I remember popping straight up and asking in an incredulous voice, “Aaliyah is dead?”
I’m sure most Black folks have similar stories. Particularly, if you were young at the time. I was in my 20’s and the event shocked me. Aaliyah was the first major star of my generation to die so tragically. It was unsettling.
When it was announced there was going to be a movie on Aaliyah’s life, folks asked why? Well, why not. Trust when Britney Spears passes on there will be a movie about her life, and Black women singers like Aaliyah (and Janet) are the ones she was groomed to copy/rip off, so I didn’t see anything wrong with Aaliyah getting her due. Also, it’s just sad when someone dies so young in such a horrific way.
I didn’t see the film this weekend, but I read it was a bust. Not surprising, as the “Aaliyah” movie was a flop from the start.
(1) The fact they kept trying (and eventually did) to cast (Latina looking) biracial women to play Aaliyah. This is the continuing agenda to erase Black women from mainstream roles/images. It’s like how they had a biracial woman play Harriet Tubman in “Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter.” Come on, now. (2) The producers of this film weren’t allowed to use Aaliyah’s music in the film. A movie about a singer and you can’t use their music? It defeats the purpose. We want to hear the tunes that made us like the person in the first place (imagine “What’s Love Got to Do With It” without music!). (3) I read they romanticized the relationship between Aaliyah and R. Kelly. Kelly was 13 years older when he married Aaliyah (28/15). Even if she thought she was “in love,” Kelly knew better. Why they would want to make it a love story, is beyond me.
This film was just a bad move from the start. Aaliyah was a young star whose light was diminished much too soon. Rest in Peace.