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17 Reasons Why Aaliyah Is One Of The Most Influential Women In Pop Culture  was originally published on

1. The Best Of Aaliyah

The Best Of Aaliyah

Aaliyah’s untimely death created a void in R&B that can never be replaced. From her trendsetting style, complex dance moves, and angelic falsetto, Aaliyah was one of the biggest superstars of the ‘90s and early 2000s. Today we remember the “One In A Million” entertainer’s greatest moments …

2. Introducing … Aaliyah Dana Haughton

At the age of 10, Aaliyah appeared on ‘Star Search’ where she performed “My Funny Valentine” in the junior vocalist division. Aaliyah charmed the audience with her impressive vocals and adorable appearance but ultimately lost to another contestant. Little did the world know, she was about to become a superstar! Shortly after her appearance, she performed in concert alongside her aunt (through marriage) Gladys Knight.

3. “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number” Redefines R&B

“Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number” Redefines R&B

Two years later, in 1991, Aaliyah signed with Jive Records where she met producer and R&B star R. Kelly. Kelly nurtured Aaliyah’s career as her mentor. He began working on her debut album “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number” (1994), producing and writing much of it’s funky, fresh content. The disc spawned two chart-topping singles, “Back & Forth” and “At Your Best (You Are Love),” that were certified gold.

4. Aaliyah … The Trendsetter

Aaliyah … The Trendsetter

Aaliyah’s debut album not only established her as the princess of R&B, her fashion — a combination of midriffs and baggy jeans that exposed the elastic around her underwear and oversized coats — solidified her as a style icon. While other artists wore tight-fitted clothing, Aaliyah introduced a new style that influenced her fans’ style.

5. The Swoop Bang

The Swoop Bang

Sunglasses over her swoop bang became a signature of Aaliyah’s style just as much as her precise dance moves and angelic vocals. Women everywhere wanted their hair to rest over their eye in the same way Aaliyah’s tresses seemed to naturally flow. Aaliyah secured her locks in place by topping off her look with a pair of designer shades.

6. Better Than The Boys

Better Than The Boys

Like many of the male artists in the ’90s, Aaliyah adapted bright colors and name brands like Tommy Hilfiger into her wardrobe — redefining sexy by changing the way the world looked at female artists. Not to mention, she made it look better!

7. A Match Made In Heaven

After ending her contract with Jive in 1996, Aaliyah ventured to Atlantic Records where she hooked up with producer Timbaland and Missy Elliott — a match made in heaven. Her second album, ‘One In A Million,’ showcased a sexier side of Aaliyah with innovative beats to match. The release was praised as smooth and seductive and went on to sell over 2 million copies in the United States plus 10 million copies worldwide.

8. Visions Of Grammy Gold

On June 16, 1998, Aaliyah released “Are You That Somebody” — produced by Timbaland and written by the late Static Major — a hit that famously samples the sound of a baby cooing in the background. The song appeared on the ‘Doctor Doolittle’ movie soundtrack and earned Aaliyah a Grammy nom for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. The music video sparked trendsetting fashion and choreography.

9. Aaliyah Becomes A Triple Threat

Aaliyah Becomes A Triple Threat

The 2001 film ‘Romeo Must Die’ catapulted Aaliyah into triple-threat territory. Not only could she sing and dance, but she could act as well. Aaliyah starred alongside Jet Li in the action-packed interracial love story that reached mainstream success. It debuted at No. 2 at the box office in its opening week. Aaliyah also graced the platinum soundtrack with two songs that earned her a Grammy nomination.

10. A New Image…

A New Image…

By the time she started recording her third album, Aaliyah’s sound had matured and so did her style. Fans who were used to the singer’s boyish uniform were surprised to see Babygirl transforming before their eyes. Aaliyah rocked this Roberto Cavalli ensemble to the 2000 Video Music Awards.

11. Aaliyah Embraces Her Sexiness

Aaliyah Embraces Her Sexiness

Aaliyah attended the 2001 Movie Awards, where she was nominated for three awards for her role in ‘Romeo Must Die,’ in a sleek black gown that showed off her shape. Gone were the days of Tommy boxers. And, who knew underneath those baggy jeans were a pair of killer legs! Once again, she had redefined sexy!

12. The New Aaliyah

The New Aaliyah

Five years after the release of ‘One In A Million,’ Aaliyah dropped her third and final album, ‘Aaliyah,’ in July of 2001. The disc received positive reviews from critics and debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 charts, selling 187,000 copies in its first week. Aaliyah’s follow-up single, “Rock The Boat,” was shot in the Bahamas before she tragically died in a plane crash on the way home.

13. From Tomboy To Sex Symbol

In April of 2001, Aaliyah released the lead single “We Need A Resolution” from her third album ‘Aaliyah.’ Up until that point in her career, Aaliyah had embodied a Tomboy swag, donning overalls and baggy jeans. The visuals for “We Need A Resolution” portrayed Aaliyah in a seductive light as she shined in sheer dresses, form-fitting jeans with bra tops, and snakes slithering over her body. She became a sex symbol.

14. Her Last Video

Aaliyah flew to the Bahamas to film the visuals for her song “Rock The Boat.” After wrapping, she and her entourage set out to return to the U.S. They never made it. Shortly after taking off, their plane crashed about 200 feet from the runway. Aaliyah’s funeral was held on August 31, 2001. Her body was set in a silver-plated, copper-deposit casket. Twenty-two white doves were released to symbolize her life.

15. ‘Queen Of The Damned’

‘Queen Of The Damned’

Aaliyah had begun filming for ‘Queen Of The Damned’ shortly after ‘Romeo Must Die’ but it wasn’t released until after her death in 2002. Aaliyah played Queen Akasha, an ancient and manipulative vampire. Despite the film’s mixed reviews, the film was a box office success, grossing $45.5 million. The project exposed Aaliyah to more roles. She was scheduled to film for the sequels of The Matrix as the character “Zee.”

16. Posthumous Success

Sales for Aaliyah’s third album sky-rocketed after her death, sending ‘Aaliyah’ to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 charts. The airing of ‘BET’s Access Granted,’ that had filmed while she was shooting “Rock The Boat” in the Bahamas, became the most-viewed and highest-rated episode in the history of the show. Her posthumous singles “More Than A Woman” and “I Care 4 U” landed in the top 25 of the Billboard Hot 100.

17. Aaliyah … The Movie

In July 2014, Lifetime announced the ‘Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B’ TV biopic. Alexandra Shipp was cast to play Aaliyah in the movie that will premiere on Lifetime November 15th at 8/7c. The two-hour movie, executive produced by Howard Braunstein, Debra Martin Chase, and Wendy Williams, is based on the bestseller ‘Aaliyah: More Than a Woman’ by former Time Magazine music editor Christopher John Farley.