In the music spotlight: Aaliyah

Culture | The real tragedy of Aaliyah's life

Issue: "Lord of the box office," Jan. 11, 2003

Before her death in a plane crash 25 years ago, the 22-year-old R&B singer Aaliyah seldom showed up on conservative radar. Then Rod Dreher (now of National Review), writing in the New York Post, cited the spectacle of the Brooklyn-born singer's funeral as an example of contemporary overemotionalism, the Rev. Al Sharpton called for his head, Mr. Dreher began receiving death threats, and-well, then airplanes hit the World Trade Center. The "Aaliyah incident" was forgotten.

I Care 4 U (Blackground/Universal), a CD and DVD package, should have conservatives remembering Aaliyah again-not so much for her music as for her videos. In them the singer, whose brief marriage at 15 to the R&B superstar R. Kelly made her an underaged sex symbol, appears disturbingly at ease with a lasciviousness that until recently was a big deal. Perhaps the real tragedy of her life was not its brevity but the unnaturally diminished role that innocence played in it.

We see you’ve been enjoying the content on our exclusive member website. Ready to get unlimited access to all of WORLD’s member content?
Get your risk-free, 30-Day FREE Trial Membership right now.
(Don’t worry. It only takes a sec—and you don’t have to give us payment information right now.)

Get your risk-free, 30-Day FREE Trial Membership right now.


You must be a WORLD member to post comments.

    Keep Reading


    Troubling ties

    Under the Clinton State Department, influence from big money…