On August 20, Aaliyah’s second studio album, One In A Million, finally hit streaming platforms! This comes after years of Aaliyah’s fans campaigning on social media for her estate to release her music. The only person holding her catalog back was her uncle Barry Hankerson who owns Blackground Records and the masters of Aaliyah’s music. He is also why many other artists, such as Toni Braxton, JoJo, Tank, and Timbaland & Magoo did not have some of their early albums on streaming platforms.
Last year, Aaliyah’s estate released a statement that they were in talks with record companies in releasing her music. But many fans were left wondering if this was actually going to happen since it has been so long and they have said this before. They released another statement on her birthday this year, saying that the matters of releasing her music were not in their control.
On August 4, many people noticed that accounts named Blackground Records 2.0 started appearing on social media. Then, a website called Aaliyah is Coming was appeared. Fans were skeptical, wondering if this was the moment they’ve all been waiting for. Soon people noticed that Spotify started following the record company’s Instagram and knew this was confirmation that her music was finally coming.
Blackground then released a promotion of every album on their label and a Timbaland & Magoo song featuring Aaliyah played in the background. Fans also spotted “Aaliyah is Coming” billboards in various locations. Later on, Blackground Records released an official statement that Aaliyah’s music would finally be on streaming services. Other streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, and Tidal made a statement confirming it. These albums will be released over the next few weeks.
The fans of Aaliyah were finally happy about this accomplishment, but this did not last for long. Aaliyah’s estate quickly released a statement saying that they do not support the release of her music. Her mother and brother were not involved in the process and are not receiving profits from her music. They would like the profits to go to Aaliyah’s Memorial Fund and not to her uncle for his own financial gain. They ended the statement with the hashtag #IStandWithAaliyah for fans to support and to not listen to the upcoming music.
Many fans were confused about this statement. Some were in support of the family, and others weren’t. They expressed that this is the first time her music will be available for the newer generations to hear. Fans have been wanting to buy her music for years, and now they finally have the chance. They also expressed that her uncle has always made money from her, and that will never change.
Barry Hankerson did an interview with Billboard sharing his side of the story. Also, he expressed his grief for Aaliyah and the plans that he has for her legacy. This includes a new album that many fans are disapproving of. Also, he mentioned that he is not close to Aaliyah’s mother (his sister) anymore and has not spoken to her about this situation. Many felt that Barry was not sincere in this interview.
Above all, fans were still excited about the release of the album. On Twitter, fans started counting down to the hour that the album would finally be available. They made the hashtag #AaliyahIsComing and #AaliyahIsHere trend. Aaliyah soon became the number one trending topic on Twitter. Blackground Records even made an official hashtag with an icon of her logo that appeared by her name if you used it.
One in a Million soared to the number one spot on iTunes, surpassing many current artists who released music on the same day. People received notifications on their phones from Spotify, Apple Music, and even TikTok that notified their users that her music was finally here. You could not scroll down your timeline without seeing her name. Fans rightfully pointed out that although Aaliyah has been gone for 20 years, she still is making an impact in the music industry.
Some naysayers even started trolling after seeing how much she is still loved. They tried to turn this happy moment into a negative one, but it didn’t work. Her fans quickly defended her, and many followed suit showing that there is literally no reason to speak negatively about her. If someone did, they only wanted attention. Her music videos from this era were also remastered and made available to watch on YouTube. They are quickly gaining thousands of views per day.
Billboard reported that this album has finally reached #10 on their Top 200 Albums list for the first time. It previously peaked at #18 when it was released in 1996. It was also #5 on the weeks top selling album list. This is beyond an accomplishment for a 25-year-old album. It proves even more that her legacy still lives on through this generation. Aaliyah is still an icon.
Even though fans were celebrating Aaliyah’s success, her brother wasn’t so happy. Fans noticed that they were blocked from viewing his page on Instagram and Twitter for promoting the album. Many felt that this was a very childish thing to do and that her fans have nothing to do with their family drama. They think he is taking his anger out on the wrong people. Some fans also say they do not support her family or her uncle anymore. They say that her family has never had Aaliyah’s best interests at heart based on situations in her life. Her brother has not made another statement yet. He continues to repost the original statement released from Aaliyah’s estate on his Instagram stories and those who tag him in posts supporting him.
I was also very excited to finally be able to stream Aaliyah’s music. Even though I already have her albums on my phone and listen to them almost daily. I still want to support her legacy in any way I can. I feel that Aaliyah’s legacy deserves respect. Many people doubt her talent and impact because they’ve never fully listened to her discography. This will only change if it is available to listen to. I love to see people discover her music and celebrate her success. I am one of those fans who agree that her legacy is more important than their family drama that we have no part in. If it wasn’t for her fans who constantly campaigned to free her music, kept her legacy alive, and defended her against hate for all of these years, none of this would have happened. Her songs would not have gained over 1 million streams in less than a week, or her album wouldn’t be number one on iTunes or currently on the Billboard charts. Those fans do not deserve to be unfairly treated or blocked.
I will continue to support the upcoming releases of Aaliyah’s last album, including the Romeo Must Die soundtrack and the posthumous I Care 4 U album. I will also continue to support any projects that Aaliyah’s estate and family release too. Blackground Records are planning to do more for her legacy in the future. They have released merchandise collections and have released more billboards promoting her album. They even showed projections of Aaliyah on various buildings all over the world in honor of the 20th anniversary of her passing. I’m not sure what will happen next for Aaliyah after all her albums are on streaming services, including the rumored posthumous album. But, I will do my best to continue to support Aaliyah so her legacy will continue to live on. Also, I hope her self-titled album’s release will be just as successful on streaming services. She was genuinely one in a million.
Are you supporting the release on Aaliyah’s music on Streaming Services? Comment Your Thoughts Below.
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