Aaliyah would have turned 41 years old today (Jan. 16). The legendary songstress, who passed away in a tragic plane crash 19 years ago, was remembered by Missy Elliott on Thursday morning (Jan. 16).
“#HappyBDayAaliyah you are still inspiring people!” Elliott wrote on Twitter. “Your edgyness & smooth dancing SO EFFORTLESS your UNIQUENESS & STYLE unmatched MUSICALLY your songs will 4EVER be NEXT LEVEL! RIP babygal 4Ever Loved.”
Along with the heartfelt message, Elliott shared a behind-the-scenes clip of Aaliyah filming a music video. The two first collaborated on Elliott’s 1997 Supa Dupa Fly album cut, “Best Friends.”
“I’ve always been someone who has had an affinity towards edgy things, towards the dark side,” Aaliyah can be heard saying in the snippet. “From Romeo to Queen of the Damned to The Matrix, they all kinda represent that for me. It’s very edgy, it’s unique, it’s a little bit dark and I like that in my music as well. So, I felt in taking a step into another genre that I wanted to do something that people could understand the flow with me and they know me that way in music so I thought this was the best way.”
Fan messages also flooded Twitter on Thursday (Jan. 16), wishing the late singer a happy birthday and remembering her legacy.
“Wow #Aaliyah would’ve been 41 today,” one fan wrote. “I remember dancing to Back & Forth in the mirror with my little sisters. I remember recording all of her videos so I could learn the dances. Happy Birthday Aaliyah.”
“Can’t believe it’s been nearly 20 years since the world lost #Aaliyah,” tweeted another. “Thinking about the body of work she would have created in that time legit fills me with loss and longing of what could’ve been. Happy birthday baby girl.”
Aaliyah’s 41st birthday also marks the day that her full music catalogue was supposed to hit streaming services. Aaliyah’s uncle Barry Hankerson, who has maintained ownership of her non R. Kelly-produced discography, previously confirmed that her music would be available to stream on Jan. 16.
“We listened, this is not a drill in honor of the great legacy of #Aaliyah,” Hankerson announced last month, tagging streaming services via his private Twitter. “1/16/2020.”
Currently, only Aaliyah’s debut album, 1994’s Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number, is available to stream.