Today, Aaliyah Dana Haughton would have been 41 years old. The R&B singer died in a plane crash in the Bahamas in August of 2001. The death of the 22-year-old star sent shock waves across the world. Her life was cut short when she was on the verge of even more success, especially in Hollywood.
It wasn’t until eight years after being signed to a major label did her first movie hit theaters. On March 22, 2000, Aaliyah’s film Romeo Must Die, also starring Jet Li, debuted, and it was an international success. The film grossed over $145 million at the box office, and Aaliyah’s performance was met with solid reviews. The New York Times said Aaliyah was a natural who “glides across the screen.”
She would soon land a role in The Matrix sequel and signed on to play Akasha in an adaptation of Anne Rice‘s Queen of the Damned. However, during filming, Aaliyah passed away on August 25, 2001. The film was released February 22, 2002, with poor reviews, but Aaliyah’s performance was praised. Other critics wanted more Aaliyah (she was only on screen for about 20 minutes) and assumed the death of the songstress made the film difficult to properly complete.
Queen of the Damned was her second and final film.
Many fans hoped there was enough footage for Aaliyah to be in the Matrix sequel, but unfortunately her character was recast with Nona Gaye.
There were plans for Aaliyah to play in a remake of the 1976 film Sparkle. The script was to be written by E. Lynn Harris, who passed away in July of 2009. A version of Sparkle would be released in August of 2012, which starred Whitney Houston, who passed away six months before the film’s release.
Without a doubt, Aaliyah was on the verge of expanding her talent beyond music. It’s safe to say her film career would’ve equaled her music and maybe even surpassed it. We could easily see Aaliyah working with some of the power-players in Black Hollywood today and maybe developing her own film projects.
Check out a clip of Aaliyah in Queen of the Damned.