20 Things You Didn’t Know About Singer Aaliyah

On January 16 we celebrate the birthday of the late performer Aaliyah. Aaliyah was a well-accomplished rising star who died tragically in a plane crash at the tender age of 22. We miss you baby girl!

Here are several things you may not have known about Aaliyah:

  1. As a child Aaliyah’s father ran a homeless shelter where Aaliyah would go and sing for homeless people.
  2. Aaliyah was the youngest singer to perform at the Oscars with 1998’s “Journey to the Past” from ‘Anastasia.’ She was only 19.
  3. In 1989, she auditioned for a role on the TV show Family Matters.
  4. She is the niece of music legend Gladys Knight.
  5. She graduated high school with a 4.0. GPA.
  6. Aaliyah won more than 30 awards, including Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist at the 2002 American Music Awards, Best Actress for ‘Queen of the Damned’ at the 2002 BET Awards and Top Hip-Hop/R&B Artist of the Year at the 2000 Billboard Music Awards.
  7. Aaliyah didn’t really like Static Major’s versions of “Are You That Somebody?” and “Try Again” but she went and recorded them anyway.
  8. Aaliyah was engaged to music mogul Dame Dash at the time of her passing.
  9. She once auditioned for a role in Elton John’s Broadway show, Aida.
  10. She modeled for Tommy Hilfiger.
  11. She got $1,500,000 for her role in Romeo Must Die and $5,000,000 for her role in Queen of the Damned.
  12. Her final interview was on “106 & Park” just five days before her passing.
  13. She was set to collaborate with Janet Jackson.
  14. She was considered for the role of “Alex” in 2000’s “Charlie’s Angels” film. The role went to Lucy Liu because the filmmakers thought Aaliyah was too young.
  15. Aaliyah was nominated for an Academy Award for her song “Journey to the Past” from the animated film “Anastasia.” She lost to “My Heart Will Go On” from “Titanic.”
  16. “Rock The Boat” was written two years before it was released, because the label didn’t think Aaliyah was ready for such a sexual song.
  17. She was set to play the lead in a Whitney Houston-produced remake of the ’70s film Sparkle.
  18. Her untimely death pushed Mary J. Blige to clean up her life after years of alcohol and drug abuse.
  19. She was nicknamed “Princess of R&B” and “Queen of Urban Pop.”
  20. Aaliyah’s name means “highest, most exalted one” in Arabic.



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I am a digital content creator and have worked in the digital space for more than ten years. "Robinrazzi" is a nickname given from a former colleague because I'm known for having a camera in hand at all times. I have traveled the world covering entertainment events, celebrities and anything trending. I earned my BA in Communications from Penn State and a MS in Marketing from Johns Hopkins University. I currently serve as Director of Digital Content for WHUR and the Howard University Radio Network.

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