R&B fans rejoiced as the late singer Aaliyah’s pivotal album One in a Million hit streaming services after not being available for decades. Now, Barry Hankerson, the singer’s uncle and owner of Blackground Records 2.0, explained the delay and issued an apology to fans who had not been able to properly enjoy her music without physical copies or illegal downloads.
On Saturday (Aug. 21), Hankerson took to his label’s Instagram account to share a lengthy statement regarding Aaliyah’s legacy and the rights to her music. The release of One In A Million occurred five days prior to the 20th anniversary of the singer’s fatal airplane crash.
“As the owner of Aaliyah’s catalog and label Blackground Records, I want to thank you all for allowing One In A Million to chart #3 in the world,” Hankerson wrote, celebrating the album’s renewed success. “I can not take the credit for managing Aaliyah as that was never a title I held. That title belonged to Diane Haughton and her husband who managed Aaliyah from the start of her career until her passing.”
He continued, “Thank you to all of her many fans for keeping her music alive. I’m sorry it took so long, but when you lose a family member so unexpectedly, it takes time to deal with that type of grief. I decided to release Aaliyah’s music in order to keep her legacy alive.”
Following One In A Million, Aaliyah’s albums ΛΛLIYΛH (2001), I Care 4 U (2002), and the Ultimate Aaliyah (2005) compilations will be rolled out through October 8. Additionally, Toni Braxton’s Libra (2005), Tank’s Force of Nature (2001), One Man (2002), and Sex, Love & Pain (2007), as well as Ashley Parker Angel’s Soundtrack To Your Life (2006), and Jojo’s The High Road (2006) and self-titled album, JoJo (2004) will also be made available.
After Blackground Records 2.0 teased the aforementioned releases, Aaliyah’s estate released a statement on “unauthorized projects.” Retweeted by Missy Elliott, the memo stated, “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.”
JoJo alluded to not being compensated by the release of her original album with the move made by Blackground 2.0. She tweeted, “never telling you what to do, but just so you know – a stream of the re-recorded 2018 version supports me and helps me continue to do what I love. streaming the original unfortunately does not,” after a fan shared excitement for the album to hit streaming platforms.
thanks for the love babe ?? never telling you what to do, but just so you know – a stream of the re-recorded 2018 version supports me and helps me continue to do what I love. streaming the original unfortunately does not. https://t.co/pYL0W8glEz
— JoJo. (@iamjojo) August 5, 2021
View Hankerson’s full Instagram post below: