R&B singer, dancer, entertainer and actress. Aaliyah (Arabic for "highest, most exalted one") Dana Haughton was born in Brooklyn, New York on January 16, 1979. She and her family moved to Detroit, Michigan when she was five. Aaliyah made her first stage debut as an orphan in a production of "Annie" at age 6 and got her start in show business at age 10 by way of the popular talent show "Star Search". Her break is credited to her uncle Barry Hankerson, her manager, CEO and owner of her management company, Blackground Enterprises. Aaliyah acquired the world's attention in 1994 at the age of 15 when her first single "Back and Forth" landed #1 on the 100 singles chart, followed by other hits on her debut album, Age Ain't Nothing But A Number which eventually went gold. The provocative nature of the album's title and lyrics, as well as the mystery of her true age at the time sparked a media frenzy about an alleged union between Aaliyah and R&B singer and mentor R. Kelly. The frenzy blossomed into a barrage of media rumors threatening to thwart a promising career. To this day it is not certain if there was ever a union between the two. In 1996 Aaliyah released her second album One In A Million. Before the close of 1997 the album would go double platinum with successful hits from the album: "4 Page Letter", "Hot Like Fire", and "The One I Gave My Heart To" shaking away any worries of a sophomore slump. Sound track work soon followed for Aaliyah with contributions to the movies Anastasia ("Journey To The Past") and Dr. Doolittle ("Are You That Somebody?"). Around this time Aaliyah also began filming on her screen debut in Andrzej Bartkowiak's Romeo Must Die. "Try Again," taken from the movie soundtrack, went to the top of the US singles chart in June of 2000. The following years self titled third album demonstrated a new maturity and confidence with Aaliyah publically bidding farewell to her teenage years. At the age of 22 in 2001, Aaliyah was on top of the world with Grammy and Oscar nominations already under her belt. The platinum-selling artist and actress had a bright future, but it was to be short lived. Tragedy struck on August 25, 2001 when, after filming a video in the Bahamas for an album, Aaliyah and various members of her record company attempted to fly to Opa-Locka, Florida aboard a small plane (Cessna 402-B). On that afternoon shortly after takeoff from Marsh Harbor, Abaco Island Bahamas, at 6:50 PM, the small light aircraft crashed about 200 feet from the runway killing Aaliyah and everyone aboard with the exception of four passengers, who were pulled from the wreckage and later died at a hospital. It was later determined that the cause of the crash was due to an overloaded plane. In New York on August 31, following her funeral at St. Ignatius Layola Church, a horse-drawn carriage carried Aaliyah to her grave. Her third album posthumously climbed to the #1 position in America, while in the UK "More Than A Woman" reached the top of the singles chart in January 2002.
Bio by: Curtis Jackson
Michael Mark Haughton