Today, Aug. 25, marks the 15 year anniversary of the death of singer, dancer, model and actress, Aaliyah Dana Haughton.
Although she had a very successful and full career, there will always be that lingering question of what more could she have achieved if it were not for her untimely death. Could she have been Beyoncé before there was a Beyoncé, or would she have been an actress lighting up the small and silver screen?
At its core, the question we really want to ask is: How different would things be if Aaliyah had not died.
First, I don’t think she would have been the “first” Beyonceé. Let’s get that straight.
I loved Aaliyah, but Bey is a force of nature born from deepest darkest recesses of Daddy Issue Island and molded in the fires of Win-This-Talent-Show-Or-AssBeat. I don’t think that’s a Perfect Storm Aaliyah could’ve traversed.
I believe her career as a singer had an expiration date.
Unlike her peers Monica and Brandy, Aaliyah came into the game with a much more mature sound.
While Brandy and Monica had careers that took them from teen pop, to young female R&B, to soul singers, Aaliyah started off as a sultry soul singer. Both Brandy and Monica are 20+ years in the game and are just now making the music Aaliyah was making when she came out.
Starting out with such a mature sound kind of hampered Aaliyah. There was nowhere for her to grow and go, but from one producer to the next, searching for new sounds.
Now she did that reeeeeally well, but I think her last album with Timberland would have been her last real album. She may have come back with something every now and again to keep her in our consciousness, but as a chart topping powerhouse, I think it was winding down for her.
So no, I don’t think she would have ever affected the rise of our Lord and Overseer Queen Bee.
So that leaves her true calling, as far as I’m concerned, and that would have been film.
Look, if you ask me, I think Aaliyah saw the writing on the walls. Her voice wasn’t the strongest in R&B and the competition was getting extremely fierce.
So in the years before her death she doubled down on acting in two films that had no business being as good as they were: Romeo Must Die and Queen of the Damned.
These weren’t going to be one-offs either, it was also planned for Aaliyah play a character named Zee in the Matrix trilogies. Can you imagine that?
Aaliyah in the Matrix, playing the role eventually taken by Nona Gaye.
But how would things have changed you ask? Well, for one, in this new age of black female empowerment, I think she would have fit right in.
Being Mary Jane, Scandal, Empire, I think Aaliyah, being in her late-30’s, would have had her pick of which show or movie she wanted. If you want to be honest, I think she had more of a chance of affecting the career of Tariji P. Henson more than anyone else.
C’mon, Baby Boy, Hustle and Flow, Empire, if anyone could’ve have personified the girl-around-the-way look it was Aaliyah.
But honestly, that’s neither here nor there.
Let me know what you think in the comments.
In the meantime: