Very Smart Brothas‘ Damon Young says we have no idea what the late singer would have thought of the “emo” rapper’s obsession with her, and we shouldn’t pretend that we do.
I wonder … if Drake fans will be able to forgive him for being haughty enough to release an album featuring tracks from the patron saint of Urban Emo herself, the late Aaliyah Haughton …
That there’s been such pushback isn’t surprising. There are few artists who’ve received the type of posthumous reverence that Aaliyah has — it must be a rite of passage for all male hip-hop artists to record an interview saying they had fallen in love with her — and even Drake has turned his body into a bizarre Aaliyah shrine. And, given that she was more “cool” than she was talented — which is saying a lot because she was definitely very talented — this unusual reverence is understandable.
Thing is — and this is a phenomenon that goes much further than Aaliyah — I think we have a tendency to allow our reverence for dead celebrities to assign a certain mystique that almost transubstantiates them. Basically, when they die, we start to lie.
Usually, this process starts with saying something like “If Aaliyah were still alive, she’d … ” a way of thinking that’s absurd on two different levels.
Read Damon Young’s entire piece at Very Smart Brothas.
The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.