Sometimes the best way to confront rumors is to hit 'em head on, so Aaliyah takes time out to set the record straight.
By Cynthia Horner
At a very early age, singing sensation Aaliyah has found herself in the midst of the rumor mill. It all started when she began recording her debut album, Age Ain't Nothing But A Number, which ended up being released through Jive Records. The producer, R.Kelly, had already made a name for himself, having won nearly $100,000 through the TV talent show, Big Break, and two successful solo LPs. It seemed that Aaliyah was starting off on the right foot.
Like her mentor, R.Kelly, Aaliyah wasn't particulary talkative to the press. Few journalists with the exception of myself, even met her. Our interview took place at America, a popular New York restaurant which features a lavish menu consisting of meals representing out fifty states. Aaliyah, accompained by her mom, spent most of the time shyly studying the menu, although her expression often brightened at the mention of Robert Kelly's name.
At the time, I got the impression the two were close, very close, but the relationship appeared to have brother/sister overtones. "He gave me a stuffed teddy bear," she confided. "We like to watch movies and joke around." Naturally I believed her; there was no reason not to.
With the release of her album, feturing the hit "Back and Forth," which, ironically was the tale of a young girl's love for a older man, it appeared that the relationship between the two had deepened, for one was seldom seen without the other. Most of their cothing matched identically, much in the same manner of a couple going steady. Still, we were told the two were merely producer/singer.
Then one day we all heard newsreports that the two had eloped. Some publications went so far as to reproduce a marriage licence which listed her age as being 18 rather then 15. Everyone was up in arms since the groom is in his late 20's. After months of silence, Aaliyah is finaly speaking up, and she wants all her fans to know that she isnot married.
Not married? How could it be? "I can't be married, because I'm not old enough," Aaliyah explains in an interview for Right On! "How Can I be married when I'm so young? I just had my sixteenth birthday."
I questioned Aaliyah about the leaks to the press. "I really don't know how it happed, I've been very upset about what has been said, but there wasn't anything I could do about it. I didn't say anything for quite awhile, but I'm trying to set the record staight. If you could just do me a favor or publishing what I'm telling you. I'm too young for marriage. I think sometimes, people just want to have something to print...I can't really give you a better explanation because I'll just go crazy."
The bad publicity that has accomanied having one of the hottest albums of the year has been devastating to Aaliyah who has attempted to get on with her life. Tours to the far east and Europe have helped put distance behind her and the trauma, but unfortunately,this incident has made her grow up faster than she would have liked.
"I think the best thing I can do now is just put out another good album. At least then it will give people something more positive to talk about," Aaliyah says in a manner-of-fact tone of voice. Lets just hope next time that the title of her album doesn't foretell her future!
By Cynthia Horner