Remembering Aaliyah’s Triumphs Before Her Tragic End

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“I’m still in high school,” Aaliyah coyly said, beaming about her recent straight-A report card, in a New York morning show interview to promote her first-ever performance at the legendary Apollo Theater.

She wanted to go to college to major in music history and minor in engineering, she said, “but I do want to stay in this business as long as possible, ’cause I love it.” She described her brother, Rashad, as her “best friend” and frequent writing partner.

Her LP’s title, Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number, was both her favorite song on the album and stemmed from the fact that she didn’t go around sharing how old (or young) she was, though everyone knew she was too young to play the Budweiser Superfest—because, beer. (She eventually performed at the festival in 1997.)

By then, the marriage “rumor” had reared its head, but Aaliyah smiled and shrugged. “I just ignored it,” the singer, who along with Kelly had denied the marriage had occurred at all, continued. “When you’re in this business it comes with the territory that people are going to talk, and you really can’t control what people are going to say. So I just really ignored it, you know, and let that roll off my back.”

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