If you love R&B you probably know Aaliyah’s name. I was a huge R&B baby for most of my life and nothing comes close to the smooth tones of 90s R&B.
Aaliyah was such an easy singer to relate to. She was young and stylish but also polite and friendly. She had some sexy songs but then she had shy sweetness in tracks like, “4-Page Letter.”
Everyone kinda knew about her marriage to R. Kelly when she was 15, but most of us just wrote it off. It was like a joke on the music scene. Aaliyah didn’t talk about it so everyone figured there was no harm done.
When she died I suspected foul play. She was killed in a plane crash and I’ve always wondered if she was killed to keep her quiet about what really happened. Her relationship with R. Kelly seemed sinister but it was an unsolved mystery. Instead of focusing on that I’ve focused on remembering her work and the ideas she never got to explore.
One of the main music projects she spoke of with passion was a desire to do an album with Trent Reznor. She liked the experimental sound of Nine Inch Nails. Her vision was mixing his sound with hers to bring two very different audiences together. Imagine suburban white kids mingling with R&B fans from the city.
She wanted to bring people together in new ways through her work. It pains me to know how successful that would have been and that she never lived to see it come to fruition.
But now that R. Kelley has been charged with racketeering and sex trafficking, more details of her marriage to him have come out and the mystery is slowly unraveling to let the light of truth shine through.
In many cases–especially sexual abuse and child molestation the media focuses on the perpetrator, or gossip columns capitalize off of the victim’s pain. I wanted to write about her perspective with more humanization. I wanted to explore the situation while remembering the lively young woman who captured our hearts and had so much talent flowing through her veins.
Instead of focusing on the man who did wrong, I wanted people to think of the budding woman who deserved better.
I have no doubt in my mind that she may have actually loved R. Kelly. He had plenty of time to manipulate and groom her at a vulnerable age.
And honestly, if he had been honorable and was truly in love with her, he would have waited. He could have gotten to know her family and expressed his love honorably without getting physical.
But he didn’t. He victimized a 15 year old girl and continued to do the same to other young ladies for over 20 years.
For most of us, our tastes mature with our age. When I was 15 I looked at 21 year old men sometimes. When I hit my 20s, 30 year old men became more appealing. Now that I’m nearing 40 I can watch shows from when I was a kid and instead of crushing on the young lead I’m over here thinking the dad looks pretty hot.
Men might be a little different, but R. Kelly is now in his 50s. His criminal history speaks for itself. Aaliyah’s story is still not entirely clear, but I’m glad that the truth is finally setting her spirit free and maybe offering more women a cautionary tale of the need to better protect themselves and their daughters.
You can read the article here: https://www.eviemagazine.com/post/the-untold-story-of-aaliyahs-abuse