Nine years ago today, on August 25, 2001, young R&B star Aaliyah Dana Haughton was killed in a plane crash in the Bahamas. The 22-year-old singer was preparing to release her studio album, Aaliyah, which eventually sold 2.5 millions copies. Aaliyah was returning from filming the music video for her posthumous hit single "Rock the Boat."
Rod 2.0 friend Kevin E. Taylor was on location and was the lead BET producer for the behind-the-scenes special. Kevin Taylor—now the Rev. Kevin Taylor, the New Jersey-based pastor, gay activist and author— was also booked on that fateful flight but was asked to give up his seat at the last moment. The decision not to return to U.S. on the private plane saved Kevin Taylor's life. Three other openly gay men perished in the crash with Aaliyah.
Watch the behind-the-scenes-video—as well as Kevin Taylor and others remember Aaliyah—AFTER THE JUMP ...
Rev Kev very graciously shares his thoughts from that day with R20:
For some reason, I got up today, and for the first time since Saturday, August 25, 2001, the first thought on my mind was "Wow, Aaliyah died today." It almost shook me from my sleep and shocked me because I have such peace with her passing and my close association to it. I produced the "Rock the Boat" Access Granted for BET and my original flight itinerary had me on the plane with them leaving the Bahamas.
Today there are many images of her. And Chris Maldonado, who did her makeup for the "Rock the Boat" shoot and was a good industry friend of mine. And Eric Foreman, a hoot and a half, just so fiery and funny and always ON! And Gina Smith, who changed my flight plans that Thursday night and quietly saved my life. And Scott Gallin, Keith Wallace, Douglas Krantz and the quietly elegant Anthony Dodd, who was assisting Eric.
As people post pics today and songs, as I did on my Facebook page, let's remember that the great testament to someone's life is to speak their name. ;Oprah Winfrey commissioned a piece by the great writer Pearl Cleage during her Legends Ball entitled "We Speak Your Names" and it was recited to the legends whom she honored that weekend. At my church—Unity Fellowship Church in New Brunswick, NJ—we pour Libation. That's the African ritual of honoring the ancestors who have gone before us that their lives might be remembered and revered. Every time you see a wino on the street "pour out some for the brothers who ain't here," they are pouring Libation.
Aaliyah Dana Haughton was a beautiful young woman, a gifted singer, a talented actress and a wonderful human being. I speak her name today, along with names of the 7 people who perished with her in the pursuit of all of their dreams and living in the greatness of their lives. We speak your names!
Read more of Rev Kev's tributes to Aaliyah at Facebook ...
In related news: #RIPAaliyah is a trending hashtag on twitter. And the Washington Post reports that despite some reports the much-discussed Aaliyah biopic was due to begin filming, it doesn't appear that it is happening.
Watch Kevin, Angie Stone, Emil Wilbekin and others remember Aaliyah—as well as behind-the-scenes produced by Kevin Taylor—AFTER THE JUMP ...