Those Were the Days: Lessons from the Life of Aaliyah



Aaliyah was an RnB singer and entertainer known for her successful albums and movies who died tragically along with 8 others in a plane crash on August 25, 2001. At the young age of 15, she solidified herself in hip hop soul history with the release of her debut album Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number. She was still in high school when her sophomore album One in a Million was well received by listeners worldwide. Her commercial success continued as she subsequently blossomed into an actress.


RnB and Hip Hop in the 90s and early 00s were influential in the lives of young millennials, especially those of colour, thus the news of her passing shocked her fans and the music industry worldwide. Today marks the anniversary of this tragic loss. In remembrance of Aaliyah, many lessons come to mind. Here are three lessons we can take away from her life:


Follow your Intuition and Listen to your Spirit


Aaliyah did not want to board the plane and communicated her fears to her mother shortly before boarding. While there are new claims as to what occurred, she did get on the ill-fated plane. Quite often, we try to silence our inner voice, our instincts, and senses; we don’t always listen to that rumble in our stomachs.


Your intuition can potentially warn you about an impending physical threat and ultimately protect you. As a Christian, I believe the Holy Spirit (God) also confirms my intuition in moments of uncertainty. It is important that we are comfortable with our intuition and learn to trust God and our inner voice.


Hard Work Accompanies Talent


Aaliyah was a very talented individual; she could sing, dance, act, and model – talents she strengthened in her youth. Hard work should accompany your drive and abilities. She spent countless hours in the studio, balanced her family life and social life while in school for much of her career and achieved her goals. Having a diligent work ethic at the core is a great recipe for success. Throughout her life, Aaliyah remained multi-faceted and consistent.


Dust Yourself Off and Try Again


Aaliyah’s lead single Try Again (2000) reiterated the need for one to stay cool and forge ahead. Some of the repeating lyrics of the song are applicable to any life situation and are encapsulating of the legacy left behind by the singer.


Though just a teenager at the time, she found herself unprotected and at the center of controversy. With strength and wisdom, Aaliyah persevered and ultimately created her own path through owning her story.


Aaliyah’s memory lives on as she continues to inspire many people in many ways.


Kevin Ufoegbune