Death adds a certain mystique to an artist and gives people reason to constantly wonder “What if?”
Aaliyah’s life ended 13 years ago, but the debate on her legacy has carried on. Well, in certain circles anyway. I’ve seen plenty of my music writing peers make their adoration for the late singer clear time and time again. I’ve also bared witness to fans on various message boards, social media, and – gasp – directly in front of me, question what Aaliyah has done to receive as much praise as she’s garnered post-mortem.
If anything, the commentary has only intensified recently in the wake of Lifetime developing a movie based on seemingly the more salacious aspects of her life. Some questions are fair. Did Aaliyah really make that great an impact, and if so, to what extent? Likewise, did Aaliyah, who had the time was not as great a success as her contemporaries (Brandy, Monica) get an added boost from an early departure? And as far as a movie about her life goes, are the more controversial aspects of her life – i.e. her short marriage to R. Kelly – more reason to highlight her life on film than her musical accomplishments?
Read Michael Arceneaux’s entire piece on Aaliyah’s legacy over on VIBE