The estate of Aaliyah has issued a statement denouncing “unauthorized projects targeted to tarnish” after her uncle’s label appeared to teased the release of music by the late singer.
On Wednesday (August 4), a website titled aaliyahiscoming.com emerged, emblazoned with the hashtag #AaliyahIsComing and with a design emulating that of the cover art of Aaliyah’s 2001 self-titled album.
The site offers users the opportunity to subscribe for updates, then directs users to the social accounts for Blackground Records, the label owned by Aaliyah’s uncle and former manager Barry Hankerson – which, from the looks of empty but verified social media pages, appears to have rebooted as Blackground Records 2.0.
Earlier today (August 5), Aaliyah’s estate issued a strongly worded statement through her social media with the hashtag #IStandWithAaliyah.
“For 20 years we have battled behind the scenes, enduring shadowy tactics of deception with unauthorized projects targeted to tarnish,” the statement reads. “We have always been confused as to why there is such a tenacity in causing more pain alongside what we already have to cope with for the rest of our lives.
“Now, in this 20th year, this unscrupulous endeavor to release Aaliyah’s music without transparency or full accounting to the estate compels our hearts to express a word – forgiveness.”
Aaliyah’s estate said that it intends to “continue to defend ourselves and her legacy lawfully and justly,” and expressed its wish to “preempt the inevitable attacks on our character by all the individuals who have emerged from the shadows to leech off of Aaliyah’s life’s work”.
The estate also said it “desire[s] closure and a modicum of peace” to grow the Aaliyah Memorial Fund, which supports several medical and educational causes, “and other creative projects that embody Aaliyah’s true essence”.
Blackground 2.0 has yet to respond to the statement by the Aaliyah estate. Read it in full below:
— Aaliyah (@AaliyahHaughton) August 5, 2021
Blackground Records, first named Blackground Enterprises, was initially founded in 1993 to release Aaliyah’s music. The label released all three of Aaliyah’s albums. Though her debut ‘Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number’ is on streaming services, as it was distributed by producer R. Kelly’s label Jive Records, her 1996 sophomore release ‘One In A Million’ and 2001 self-titled remain unavailable.
In January, Aaliyah’s estate revealed that they were “working diligently” to get her music released digitally. “While we share your sentiments and desire to have Aaliyah’s music released, we must acknowledge that these matters are not within our control, and, unfortunately, take time,” they wrote. “Our inability to share Aaliyah’s music and artistry with the world has been as difficult for us as it has been for all of you.”