Wednesday, August 25, 2021, marked the 20th anniversary of Aaliyah’s death.
Memories and tributes from fans and past collaborators poured in all day to celebrate the life of legacy of the influential star. Missy Elliott, who worked with powerhouse producer Timbaland for the late singer’s second album One in a Million, took to Twitter to reflect on that time, writing:
“Babygirl All these years your IMPACT is still felt & your INFLUENCE is seen EVERYWHERE! So many are still CAPTIVATED by your SOUND & STYLE! It’s BEAUTIFUL to see a new generation become fans of your ART & love YOUR HEART! We Love you. May your spirit live on 4EVER.”
However, on a day that should’ve been filled with nothing but love and support for family, friends and loved ones of Aaliyah, it instead became problematic for her mother, Diane Haughton.
Per the New York Post, Haughton called out an unidentified individual and their self-seeking attempts “to promote a book” at her daughter’s gravesite, leading many to believe she was referring to veteran music journalist Kathy Iandoli, the author of the recently published unauthorized biography Baby Girl: Better Known as Aaliyah. Posted on Aaliyah’s official Instagram Page, Haughton wrote:
“Dear Special Ones, First and foremost I want to thank my dear “Special Ones” (The Fans) that have been with us for years and supported every endeavor that came our way without hesitation. However, due to the behavior of an individual that has been to Aaliyah’s resting place in order to promote a book, I have been forced to make a drastic change at Ferncliff Cemetery and Mausoleum.”
She continued: “This person interrupted all my thoughts and ideas to make August 25th, 2021 a day of Remembrance and Love for my daughter. Please accept my sincere apologies for this and know I love you and always will. Aaliyah’s life will still shine no matter what. With Aaliyah And Her Comrades In Our Hearts, D. Haughton.”
Following Haughton’s post and after being subjected to online attacks, Iandoli took to Twitter to clear up any confusion: “I did not promote my book outside of Aaliyah’s gravesite. That is offensive to even suggest. I have been told that fans have had my book there with them. Please no longer bring my book to Ferncliff. Apologies that fans can not visit Aaliyah’s resting place.”