R&B star Aaliyah has been gone for 22 years now. The beloved singer, actress, and performer was taken from the world in a sad accident that claimed the lives of several members of her entourage and cast and crew from her final video, “Rock The Boat.” With her legacy tied to so many other people, conversations about her over the last two decades have been impossible to escape.
While her family and fans have been determined to protect her legacy and give the star some peace, it is virtually impossible these days. Aaliyah’s name constantly comes up during R. Kelly’s legal proceedings. The Chicago singer courted Aaliyah at the beginning of her career and started an inappropriate relationship with the starlet that resulted in a fraudulent marriage and rumored pregnancy. Aaliyah was also the topic of a years-long battle with her uncle Barry Hankerson. Hankerson held the bulk of Aaliyah’s catalog hostage, which made her debut, sophomore and third studio albums all unavailable for fans to listen to in the streaming era. His vault also included projects from Toni Braxton, JoJo, Tank, and Timbaland. Eventually, the projects were made available around her 21st anniversary, to the delight of fans.
Aaliyah’s life was explored in a controversial Lifetime film from 2014 called Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B. Many fans did not enjoy the film and felt it disrespected her legacy. This mindset has been extended to R. Kelly’s trial and people repeatedly trying to reframe the narrative that Aaliyah and her family were somehow complicit in the relationship. Many even say that her mother was also involved with R. Kelly as well.
Actor Isaiah Washington recently opened up about his time on set with Aaliyah filming the 2000 movie Romeo Must Die. Washington played Mac. According to him, Aaliyah was “very in control” of her life and was a strong businesswoman. Isaiah finds it hard to believe that the woman he knew was not in control of any situation, particularly her relationship with R. Kelly. “She was super smart. I think she was in control of that situation. 100%. She was mature beyond her age. She was 15 going on 30, easy.”
Obviously, Isaiah Washington’s remarks were met with backlash. Many fans believed it was problematic to claim a 15-Year-Old girl was old enough to make adult decisions and also control an adult man. The actor has not reacted to the backlash.