NEW YORK – OCTOBER 5: American R&B singer Aaliyah, aka Aaliyah Dana Houghton (1979-2001) poses for a photo backstage at Madison Square Garden for Lifebeat’s Urban Aid benefit concert on October 5, 1995 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Catherine McGann/Getty Images)

On August 25 2001, Aaliyah Dana Haughton and seven people died when a small passenger plane burst into flames shortly after takeoff from Abaco Island in the Bahamas. Her death rocked the music industry. She was known for her hit tracks “I Don’t Wanna” and “Try Again” and was (and still is) an icon in 90s style. After two decades since her death, pop star Normani has penned an essay in honour of the artist.

“Aaliyah went against the grain,” Normani wrote. “That’s why she was a standout, in a category all of her own. It’s why you can see so many artists, decades later, are still inspired by her, whether through music, fashion, or look. She had it all.”

Destiny’s Child, Aaliyah (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
A horse-drawn carriage carries R&B singer Aaliyah”s coffin towards the St. Ignatius Loyola Church for services August 31, 2001 in New York City. The 22-year-old singer died August 25 in a plane crash in the Bahamas. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Jay-Z leaving R & B singer Aaliyah’s memorial service at St. Ignatius Loyola Roman Catholic Church in New York City. 8/31/2001. Photo: Evan Agostini/Getty Images.

She later added, “Aaliyah was also willing to talk about real shit. That’s lost, I think, in today’s music, which is why I say I’m stuck in the late 90s and early 00s: it makes me actually feel something. It moves me. “Four Page Letter”, “The One I Gave My Heart To”, “If Your Girl Only Knew”… she wasn’t afraid to be vulnerable. She was great at starting conversations and had her own unique way of communicating a message. Far beyond her years, she had so much wisdom from a young age.”

Normani is currently working to release her highly-anticipated debut album.

Friend and collaborator Missy Elliot paid tribute to Aaliyah on Twitter overnight. She wrote, “Babygirl All these years your IMPACT is still felt & your INFLUENCE is seen EVERYWHERE! So many are still CAPTIVATED by your SOUND & STYLE! It’s BEAUTIFUL to see a new generation become fans of your ART & love YOUR HEART! We Love you💜🕊& May your spirit live on 4EVER🙏🏾”

Aaliyah’s estate released a trailer to the singer’s last interview today. The half-hour-long profile for MTV docuseries, Diary, was aired on television on August 8 2001 and will now be released for fans to revisit on YouTube.

“It is with heavy hearts that we share this day of remembrance that marks the 20th year with all of you,” the artist’s family shared on Twitter. “We want to honor Babygirl & to share with you this project that we’ve been working on.”

As reported by BillboardAaliyah’s 1996 album One In A Million only arrived to streaming platforms last Friday due to a family disputes.

Credit: Steve Eichner/Getty Images