Dear Members of the Haughton Family:
We would like to start this off by saying that we respect your wishes when it comes to Aaliyah. Obviously, she belonged to you way before she belonged to music fans all around the world and we honor that connection before any of us come into consideration. The pain you all must have felt when you lost your beautiful daughter, sister, niece, cousin and friend on that heartbreaking August day over 12 years ago is unfathomable to many of us. However, we did grieve just as strongly in our own way.
When it was announced earlier this week that there would be a biopic based on her life, we were surprised, but in a weird sense, pleased. Following that announcement, we wondered if you knew anything about the movie taking place and according to sources, you did not. In fact, you have threatened to not only stop this movie from happening, but are promising to make sure none of Aaliyah’s music is used in the production. We are begging you to reconsider this.
Understandably, the story of Aaliyah on a television screen sounds somewhat disrespectful to her memory. The spirit she possessed was absolutely massive and deserves so much more than a simple television movie on Lifetime. At age 15, a career began for her that was truly blessed, emulated and adored. It feels like having that story told through such a small media window would not seem fair. However, you must look at it from the grander scheme of the picture: many of us actually did come to really know her through our TVs. From her music videos to performances to interviews, we got to see her beautiful smile, her amazing dance moves and hear her soulful voice. There is a deeper connection that lies there and in reality, it would only honor her memory, not hinder it.
You may also have questions about an actress such as Zendaya Coleman taking on the role of such a personal connection in your lives. A lot of us admittedly do not know too much about her, either. However, since the news has broken regarding the production of the movie, she has said nothing but kind words about Aaliyah, expressing that all she wants to do at the end of the day is “show young people what she [has] accomplished”. That statement alone is such a powerful one and in essence, it connects to the very next point we must bring up: the story of Aaliyah needs to be told as soon as possible.
We are sure that you have noticed how the music industry works nowadays. There are so many flash in the pan artists that come and go. Some of them stick around for a while, but others are not so lucky. On top of all of that, most of the ones that do have more of a constant presence cannot hold a candle to what Aaliyah did during her time on this Earth. A lot of these younger music listeners will never know what it means to have that great summer song that Aaliyah seemed to perfect. They do not know how absolutely brilliant the originality of Are You That Somebody? was; how it was so grand, it somehow surpassed the popularity of the movie it was connected to. Go on; tell us to recall one line from Dr. Doolittle. It probably will not happen. Now, ask us the following line to, “Is it my go; is it your go?” We already are singing it inside of our heads.
Your beautiful Aaliyah showed us what it was like to achieve fame through pure class, sweet humbleness, hard work and an unbridled passion that is still hard to finding within many of today’s artists. She did everything so effortlessly. We looked up to her, we sang along to her songs and we loved her strongly. We understand the testament that she created and why you are all against this movie happening in such a small way. Her story deserves greatness on the big screen, but right now, a lot of us are so happy to know that someone wants to tell her story. She has been gone for so long and still holds such a strong piece of our hearts. We just want to share it with the rest of the world; a world who may not fully comprehend just who Aaliyah Dana Haughton truly was to all of us.
It might be difficult to do so, but we ask if possible, attempt to meet up with the producers, writers and the star that have been hired for the movie on Aaliyah’s life. Share your concerns and thoughts. Explain to these people just how much that legacy must be respected if this movie goes forward. If you all choose not to be a part of it, we can understand that; the pain will never go away from losing her and all you want at the end of the day is to make sure her life is properly honored. However, we feel the very way you all do. We understand the importance of what was lost that day. Aaliyah is truly someone who was, to use one of her amazing songs, one in a million.
Your love for her, like her name, is exalted above ours. But we loved her too. We just want the younger generation to know just how strong that love for Aaliyah was and why she matters. This movie would only be a small part of that, but that small part, just like your daughter, is one full of greatness. Thank you for reading.
With utmost regard,
The Fans of Aaliyah
Commentary by Jonathan Brown