If you can believe it, it has been 18 years since the tragic death of Aaliyah “Baby Girl” Haughton. Desperate to maintain the legacy of such a beloved singer who lost her life too soon, fans (I’m most certainly included in this number) have been clamoring for her music to be available on digital platforms.
The only album fans currently have access to via streaming is her 1994 debut, Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number. Particularly, all eyes turned to the late singer’s uncle, Barry Hankerson, who seemingly held the discography hostage under his Blackground Records label for so many years.
Writer Stephen Witt wrote a historical profile on Hankerson and Blackground for Complex in 2016:
As the years pass, there’s a bigger risk—that Aaliyah will be forgotten. Nostalgia is cyclical, and Aaliyah has already peaked as a fashion icon on Tumblr. Right now, the music industry is the midst of a shift to an all-streaming landscape. When the transition is complete, if Aaliyah’s catalog isn’t on the right platforms, her music could functionally cease to exist. Within a few years, she could transition from resurrected angel to period-piece obscurity. One day, if you want to understand what made her so important, you’ll have to dig out your Discman and pray you can still find a used CD copy of One in a Million or Aaliyah. And if that happens, Uncle Barry will be the one to blame.
Well, it looks like that torturous wait in limbo is over.
“We listened, this is not a drill in honor of the great legacy of #Aaliyah,” Hankerson tweeted, tagging major streaming brands such as Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music and Amazon Prime.
Hankerson announced Aaliyah’s entire catalogue will be available to enjoy on major streaming services on Jan. 16, 2020. Fans of the late songbird recognize this date as what would’ve been her 41st birthday.
I’m hype—what a way to start the new decade. Best believe I’ll be marking this day on my calendar.