Aaliyah’s story had barely begun before it was out of her hands.
The story didn’t end, because here we are 19 years after her shocking death in a plane crash at the age of 22, still talking about her, still marking what would have been her birthday, still appreciating what she did contribute in her short time on the planet.
“Sometimes, when it’s just my mom and me kicking it, I say, ‘I’m 22, and I’ve accomplished so much,'” she told E! News in 2001, months before she died. “I just know I have to appreciate every moment.”
But as has so often been the case when a famous woman’s story is linked to an infamous scandal, her accomplishments can get overshadowed by the more titillating details—and setting Billboard chart records, starring in movies and making enough of an impression musically so that artists are still sampling and drawing comparisons to Aaliyah to this day just doesn’t get the heart racing quite as much.
Not that the scandalous part of Aaliyah Dana Haughton’s story should be ignored.