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Aaliyah’s estate slams label’s ‘unauthorized’ release of singer’s music on streaming platforms

Blackground Music owner Barry Hankerson sent a cryptic tweet linking to a site called Aaliyahiscoming.com.

The estate of beloved late singer Aaliyah recently released a statement slamming her uncle’s “unauthorized” announcement that her music would be finally coming to streaming platforms. 

On Wednesday, Barry Hankerson, the brother of Aaliyah’s mother, Diane Haughton, and the owner of Blackground Music, her former record label, released a cryptic tweet linking to a website called Aaliyahiscoming.com.

Getty Images

There are no additional details on the site, only an option to sign up for reminders. 

Hankerson had previously said in an interview that Aaliyah music would be coming to streaming in the near future. 

Y’all, I’m happy AF.. I don’t wanna get my hopes up, but if Barry Hankerson finally does the right thing and puts Aaliyah’s catalog on streaming, then yaaaassss pic.twitter.com/8cLozR305j

— POP CULT MEDIA (@SueMyFamily) August 4, 2021

We’ll see. Because it shouldn’t have took this damn long. Still don’t like Barry Hankerson or Jomo Hankerson. I’m not supporting no fcking Autumn Manrini either.😒 https://t.co/mugqkmxRgs pic.twitter.com/Y8f3mCouY7

— ᴮᴱ🅱reuana⁷ STREAM PTD🧈💛 (@jooniebabybre) August 4, 2021

However, the new announcement prompted a response from the estate, also distributed via social media.

“Protecting Aaliyah’s legacy is, and will always be our focus,” it read. “For 20 years we have battled behind the scenes, enduring shadowy tactics of deception with unauthorized projects targeted to tarnish. We have always been confused as to why there is such as tenacity in causing more pain alongside what we already have to cope with for the rest of our lives.”

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

The estate, which is managed by the singer’s immediate family, said they “want to preempt the inevitable attacks on our character by all the individuals who have emerged from the shadows to leech off Aaliyah’s life work.” 

The family adds that it is currently working to facilitate a memorial fund “and other creative projects that embody Aaliyah’s true essence, which is to inspire strength and positivity for all creeds, races and cultures around the world.” 

Hankerson has not released a reply to the estate’s statement. 

This month marks the 20th year since Aaliyah perished in a plane crash just after the recording of her video, “Rock the Boat.” 

A new report from a man who claims to have seen the singer before the fated flight which killed all nine people on board said she was fearful of flying on the small plane, and she was reportedly carried aboard unconscious after being given a sleeping pill. 

Author Kathy Iandoli includes the assertions from Kingsley Russell — whose family ran a taxi and hospitality business on the Abaco Islands — in her pending book, Baby Girl: Better Known as Aaliyah. 

Russell claimed that at 13, he tagged along with the singer and her crew during her shoot, as his mother was her driver.

“The only thing I’ve taken with me is that after 20 years, I can finally say that Aaliyah didn’t want to get on the plane,” Iandoli told The Daily Beast. “That makes me feel a little better, but not much. This didn’t have to happen. She should still be here, and I think that’s the saddest part about it.”

TheGrio’s Chinekwu Osakwe contributed to this report. 

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