In (Late) Memoriam…

First off…today I was browsing through different blogs, and I realized that apparently I am doing this blogging thing wrong. Well, I don’t know…I was highly unaware that people like plan out their blog postings and have topics ready to discuss on their blogs. I just sit in front of my computer and my fingers go to whatever I feel like typing about. On a few occasions, I have felt compelled to write about something in particular, like tonight. But mostly, I just get out what is on my mind so it is clear for writing, editing, sleep, or just because I feel comfortable saying things on here that don’t come out so easily to others. Not that I am shy, I just learned that sometimes tact is the best option when dealing with folks and when I speak, I have zero of that. But anyways, i apologize if my blog seems like a bunch of words and topics strewn together. Anyway…

Aaliyah Dana Haughton 1979-2001

I love music. It is my muse. It takes away all of the noise in the world and helps me focus. It also helps me relax, helps me to feel angry, puts words to my sadness, and can make me feel like I am free. According to my mother, I loved music even before I was born. She used to tell stories of how I would kick the most when she was listening to her ex-husband’s band practice. Music has been there on some of my worst days and also some of my best. That’s why August 25th always stings. God, it stings.

Everyone has those few times that they can remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they found out news that would make a difference in their lives. Mine are:

  1. 9/11
  2. When I found out my grandma had passed away
  3. When Left-Eye from TLC died
  4. When I heard that Aaliyah died

There are more, but those are some of the ones that I could sit here right now and without thinking, tell you exactly what I was doing when those moments happened. The night that Aaliyah’s death was announced 14 years ago, I remember working in a coffee house. We had live artists on stage performing and I was behind the bar when all of a sudden someone turned up a radio and they announced she and many members of her crew (they were also her very good friends) died in a plane crash. Like many others around me, I gasped in shock and cried.

She was the same age as I was. She was beautiful, young, vibrant, talented, kind-hearted. She had been very popular for a few years before her death, but at the time of that plane crash, her star was the brightest. She was at the age that her mature lyrics did not seem too old for her. She had already starred in one movie and was wrapping up filming for another. She was sealing her mark in the world and the hearts of her fans.

Listening to most of the music today, I find myself missing Aaliyah at random times. I often wonder how high the bar would have been set with every album she put out. I wonder what kind of music she would gravitate to. Sure, she had been crowned the princess of RnB, but I feel like she would have crossed between all genres and pushed herself with each song.

I find it cute when younger people today fall in love with Aaliyah’s music. That’s the way that music lives through the years. That’s the magic of music; that someone, someday will find a purpose and message for them in a  song that was released many years before they were born. Much like I love Al Green and Rod Stewart. I live for old Commodores songs and will play a Johnny Cash song loud in my car like it was just released yesterday. But then again…it isn’t the same. I feel sad for the people that just discover an artist who has passed away. I remember the controversy of, “why does Aaliyah where her hair over one of her eyes all the time?” I remember feeling scandalized when there were rumors that she had married R. Kelly. I watched when she transformed from the tomboy, “street but sweet,” young girl into the woman that was comfortable with her body and loved being sexy, embracing it with fervor. I remember. I was there…well not there, but you know what I mean.  I know what it’s like to sometimes skip a song of hers when it comes on a playlist because it is a little too painful to know that the music we have now is the only music of hers we will ever have.

Anyways, I just felt the need to write my little tribute to someone who’s music had a huge impact on my life when I was younger and who’s death still impacts me today. That was another long one. Whew.

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