Fans of the late Aaliyah Dana Haughton will never forget the gut-wrenching news that the beloved songstress had been killed (along with eight others) in a plane crash on Aug. 25, 2001. This month marks 20 years since we’ve lost the artist lovingly referred to as “Baby Girl.”
On Monday, the Daily Beast published a report and interview with acclaimed music journalist and author Kathy Iandoli, whose upcoming aptly titled book, Baby Girl: Better Known as Aaliyah, will be released on Aug. 17. It’s a book that Iandoli claims will bring closure in regards to details of the singer’s death. If you recall correctly, an array of reports were released about the suspicious plane crash in the Bahamas, including that the plane exceeded its maximum weight limit and a toxicology report confirming the pilot had alcohol and cocaine in his system. The Daily Beast noted that Aaliyah’s team did not respond to requests for comment.
“I remember when Aaliyah passed away, I was really upset,” Iandoli, who was with Aaliyah just before the fateful flight, told the Daily Beast. “The story kept saying that she was adamant about getting on the plane. I was almost upset with her. Why did you want to get on that plane so badly? I remember wrestling with this, being like, ‘Well, she wanted to get back to [then-boyfriend] Damon Dash, she wanted to be with her team, and who wouldn’t want their stuff with them?’”
In this newest report, an Abaco Islands eyewitness named Kingsley Russell (who was 13 years old at the time and worked as the team’s baggage carrier), claimed that a team member gave Aaliyah a pill that caused the artist to go into a deep sleep. She was then carried aboard the aircraft while she was unconscious. Iandoli linked up with Russell after a tip from one of Aaliyah’s U.K.-based superfans Sandy, founder of the popular fan page Aaliyah Archives.
The Daily Beast report continues:
For Iandoli it’s a bittersweet revelation that Aaliyah was allegedly knocked out when she was taken onboard the plane, admitting she was unsure if she even wanted to include the pill detail in her book. She ultimately decided it “fit into this story that I think debunked something that we had been believing for all this time.”
“The only thing I’ve taken with me is that after 20 years, I can finally say that Aaliyah didn’t want to get on the plane,” she says. “That makes me feel a little better, but not much. This didn’t have to happen. She should still be here, and I think that’s the saddest part about it.”
“She deserved better,” Iandoli adds.
However, it seems like Iandoli has some complicated thoughts on the report that she says she will address further once Baby Girl publishes on Aug. 17.
“It’s all over the internet now, so I just want to say this: whatever this was that went down (and I will speak more on that after my book publishes in two weeks), the one thing I stand by is the last line of this Daily Beast article: Aaliyah deserved better,” Iandoli wrote in an Instagram caption on Monday.