There’s a new battle in the long-running conflict between the estate of the late R&B singer Aaliyah Haughton and her uncle/ former manager and label chief Barry Hankerson. On Wednesday (Aug. 4) Blackground 2.0 Records teased the release of Aaliyah music and launched a new campaign with the hashtag #AaliyahIsComing along with a brand new website where fans can sign up for a reminder.
As fans of the “One In A Million” singer buzzed with both excitement and confusion, Aaliyah’s estate shared an official statement. While it does not mention Blackground 2.0 by name, the message was directed towards the attempted release of the singer’s music.
“Protecting Aaliyah’s legacy is, and will always be our focus. For 20 years we have battled behind the scenes, enduring shadowy tactics of deception with unauthorized projects targeted to tarnish,” read the statement. “We have always been confused as to why there is such a tenacity in causing more pain alongside what we already have to cope with for the rest of our lives.”
The statement continued, “Now, in this 20th year, this unscrupulous endeavor to release Aaliyah’s music without any transparency or full accounting to the estate compels our hearts to express a word – forgiveness. Although we will continue to defend ourselves and her legacy lawfully and justly, we want to preempt the inevitable attacks on our character by all the individuals who have emerged from the shadows to leech off of Aaliyah’s life’s work.”
Aaliyah’s estate shared its own hashtag #IStandWithAaliyah and the statement was retweeted by Missy Elliot, a close friend and frequent collaborator of the late star.
During an interview with The Shade Room shared on Aug. 1, Hankerson shared why he revived the label after moving to Atlanta and meeting talented artists who did not have the proper resources to release their own music.
“It’s a good time to promote young talent,” said Barry to the digital tabloid.
In August 2020, Variety reported the estate of Aaliyah announced her music would soon be available on streaming services.
“To our loyal fans: We are excited to announce that communication has commenced between the estate and various record labels about the status of Aaliyah’s music catalogue, as well as its availability on streaming platforms in the near future,” announced the estate. “Thank you for your continued love and support. More updates to come!”
Now, one year later, those loyal fans await progress on both sides. This month will mark the 20th anniversary of the singer’s untimely death. On Aug. 25, 2001, Aaliyah tragically died in a plane crash traveling from the Bahamas to Florida after shooting the video for “Rock The Boat.” Her full catalog has never been available on streaming platforms.