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Fifteen Years Later: Remembering Aaliyah


Sal Idriss/RedfernsFifteen years ago today, singer-actress Aaliyah died in a plane crash in the Bahamas, following the completion of her final music video for “Rock the Boat.” She was just 22 years old.

Born Aaliyah Dana Haughton in Brooklyn, New York, the late entertainer steadily made a name for herself as a vocalist-to-watch, particularly as a contestant on the once-popular reality talent competition series, Star Search, in 1989.  

She later started working on her debut studio album, Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number, with R. Kelly and graduated from the Detroit High School for the Fine and Performing Arts.  

Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number skyrocketed Aaliyah to fame, with her mature vocal stylings, effortless dance moves and sultry-meets-sporty fashion sense. The album went two-times platinum and peaked at number three on Billboard‘s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and number 18 on the Billboard 200 in 1994.

Aaliyah continued to dominate the music industry from the mid-90s to early 2000s with her second studio album, One in a Million, and a foray into film acting. Her work on One in a Million, with super-producers Timbaland and Missy Elliott, cemented her position as one of music’s finest entertainers. The album landed on Billboard‘s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart at number two in 1997. 

In 1999, Aaliyah secured her first film role, in the action-drama Romeo Must Die, which also featured one of her songs on the soundtrack — “Try Again,” which earned her a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Female Vocalist. In 2002, she starred as Queen Akasha in the vampire fantasy-horror movie,Queen of the Damned.  

In July 2001, Aaliyah released her third studio album, Aaliyah. After her death August 25 and burial August 31, the album rose to number one on the Billboard 200 the week of September 15 that year. 

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