Edd’s MANtra: Where Were You?

Nine years ago today, we learned that R&B superstar Aaliyah died in a plane crash in the Bahamas. That news still stands as the most surreal moment in all my years as a music fan.

We have lost many artists before and since Aaliyah’s passing but nearly all were due to violence, recklessness or health issues. In my opinion, none of those deaths were as random and shocking as Aaliyah’s.

Generations before mine will always remember where they were when they heard about the assassinations of MLK or JFK or when the Challenger space shuttle exploded. My generation will always remember where they first heard the news about Aaliyah.

I didn’t hear about Aaliyah’s death that Saturday night – it was the next Sunday morning at church. An elderly woman was giving a testimony about how life is short and “you could go at any time, like that young lady in that plane crash.” I didn’t think anything of it until a couple of women sitting behind me whispered something to the effect of “Did you hear Aaliyah died?” “Yeah, but I think it’s a rumor.” I rushed home, flipped on CNN and it was confirmed.

Almost a decade later, I don’t mourn the passing of one of my all-time favorites. I celebrate her talent, her passion, and her drive. And I’ll never forget that lady’s testimony about making the most of every day we’re blessed to have.

Where were you when you heard the news of Aaliyah’s death?


  1. I know exactly where I was. I was at the Beach in the car driving when me and my roommate where jamming to Aaliyah on the radio. Then it hit me why are they playing all of her music??? I thought no, she cant be dead, not baby girl!! So when I got home I turned on the TV and there it was. She had died in a plane crash. I was beside myself. Aaliyah is and was my favorite singer. We were the same age. I grew up with her! I never got the chance to see her in person but I felt like I lost a sister. I cried for a week straight! Taped all the headline news, videos, everything LiLi (thats what I called her). That moment in time changed my way of thinking about life. PERIOD. R.I.P. Baby Girl, You are that Somebody….tear…tear

  2. Edd,

    I was attending the NABJ convention in Florida. My aunt said that she could tell that all of the black folks were away, because many “mainstream” media outlets couldn’t even pronounce Aaliyah’s name correctly.

  3. I was at the NABJ conference in Florida too!

    I didn’t want to believe it. I stayed up all night watching the news waiting for some report that would declare it was a rumor.

    And you’re right, Dinae, most outlets were mispronouncing her name.

  4. I was in college at UA. I woke up to see this tragic news on TV. I spent the whole day in disbelief

  5. I was on my very frist cruise to the Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios, Jamaica. A soror of mine I had met on the cruise knocked on the door and said that Aaliyah had died and I was thinking that she meant someone on the cruise ship and I was asking what happened. She then told me she was talking about the singer. I flipped the channels in the small tv in my cabin and there it was in writing at the bottom of the screen that she was gone. I remember not believing it and since I was on a cruise, I was focused on my destinations.

    But as soon as I got back home, I remember that it was ALL over the news and I was in shock. It was sad because she was so young and talented and I will admit that I shed a few tears because it was just so sad. I still rock “One In A Million” (my favorite Aaliyah song) and a few others by her as well.

  6. I was in Atlanta on my way to a friend’s house and it came on the radio. I thought it was a sick joke until we got to the house and saw it on MTV News.

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