Everything about Aaliyah’s parents – Her vocalist mother introduced her to music

Much to the delight of fans everywhere, Aaliyah’s music is finally available on streaming platforms. After a prolonged battle, owners of her catalog reached an agreement to have the singer’s songs available for streaming. Fans have also delighted at a jury’s decision to find R. Kelly, the man accused of grooming Aaliyah, guilty of all counts of racketeering and sex trafficking. 

Aaliyah’s case presents one of the biggest what-ifs of recent times. What if she’d survived that crash? How big would she have gotten? Rather than dive into an abyss of possibilities, the best we can do is enjoy the music she left and appreciate her impact on R&B and hip hop. 

Aaliyah’s mother was a vocalist who supported Aaliyah’s career choice

Aaliyah Dana Haughton was born on 16th January 1979 in Brooklyn, New York, to Diane and Michael Haughton. She grew up alongside her older brother Rashad in Detroit, Michigan. 

She often spoke of her adoration of the name Aaliyah, which is Arabic for ‘highest most exalted one.’ Diane was a vocalist who introduced Aaliyah to music early on. 

Aaliyah performed in church and at weddings before appearing on Star Search at the age of ten. Aged 11, she appeared alongside her aunt and soul legend, Gladys Knight. A year later, Aaliyah signed with her uncle Barry Hankerson’s Blackground Records. 

She would release three studio albums; one with Blackground Records and two with Atlantic records. The battle for Aaliyah’s music has played out in secret for 20 years but finally came to light in August 2021. 

Per a statement released in August 2021, Aaliyah’s estate blamed her uncle and former manager Barry Hankerson for the delay in getting Aaliyah’s songs on streaming platforms. The estate posted a statement on Twitter saying:

“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 if our lives. Now, in this 20th years, this unscrupulous endeavor to release Aaliyah’s music without any transparency or full accounting to the estate compels our hearts to express a word – forgiveness.”

Paul LiCalsi, attorney for Aaliyah’s estate, stated that Barry didn’t inform the estate of the impending release. Fans feared that the estate would challenge the premiere, but it opted to let it continue. 

Aaliyah’s mom denied that R. Kelly had sex with her daughter on tour

Michael Haughton didn’t live long enough to watch the shocking documentary titled Surviving R. Kelly. He passed away due to cancer in 2012. 

Diane saw the documentary and wasn’t impressed by a claim by Jovante Cunningham stating that she saw Kelly having sex with Aaliyah. Aaliyah’s mother released a statement that denied the allegation. She claimed to have never seen Cunningham on any of Aaliyah’s tours. Diane’s statement read:

“These lies and fabrications cannot be tolerated and allowed to be spewed from the forked tongues of saboteurs of Aaliyah’s legacy. Shame on all those involved in this project who thought it kosher to drag Aaliyah’s name into a situation that has nothing to do with her today.”

Diane asserted that Aaliyah could never have had sex with Kelly as she and Michael always accompanied her. However, Barry Hankerson claims that his sister, Diane, knew of Aaliyah’s abuse at Kelly’s hands. 

After stating that he was ‘completely ignorant’ to the alleged abuse, Barry responded as follows to an inquiry about other family members who knew about it: “I think my sister knew a lot more that what we thought she knew.”

Kelly’s abuse of Aaliyah featured in his trial as prosecutor Maria Cruz Melendez told jurors that Kelly married the then-15-year-old Aaliyah, fearing that she might be pregnant. Aaliyah’s parents annulled the illegal union.