Fate Unclear for Aaliyah's Last Video
Singer-actress Aaliyah may have died in an August plane crash, but her music lives on. Or at least it's trying to.
The 22-year-old R&B star, who also had landed a key role in the much anticipated sequel to "The Matrix," died while in the Bahamas shooting a video for the song "Rock the Boat" from her self-titled album. The video was released after her death, and fans embraced it."
But the video has peaked, and it's unclear if or when Blackground, her label, will release an already completed follow-up video, "More Than a Woman." Aaliyah finished her last remaining video with much in-demand director Dave Myers (Missy Elliott, Janet Jackson) before going to the Bahamas. This uncertainty angers fans of the young performer, who scored her first hit at age 14 and had a promising multimedia career ahead of her.
"It's very important to keep her memory alive," says Drexter Inman, 29, of Stone Mountain, Ga. "It would behoove them to go ahead and release it quickly."
It's not that simple. A deal between Blackground and Virgin Records, which worked together on the project, ended abruptly in late November. In order for the "Woman" video to be released, Virgin and Blackground--which now has a deal with Universal Records--must work together.
Statements from both parties indicate this shouldn't be a problem. Barry Hankerson, Aaliyah's uncle and CEO of Blackground, has described the split from Virgin as "completely amicable." A Virgin publicist claims that the company supports the "Aaliyah" album "100 percent."
But behind-the-scenes rumblings hint that continuing this relationship may not be so easy. Ken Berry, former CEO of Virgin's parent company, EMI, was instrumental in brokering Virgin's reported $15 million deal with Blackground last year. But he was ousted from the company in October. His replacement, frugal industry veteran Alain Levy, began making drastic moves including severing ties with Blackground.
As it stands, neither company has a time frame for deciding what to do with the "Woman" video, which is airing in Europe.
MTV and BET executives are confident that fans will want to see the video whenever it is released.
"The audience interest for Aaliyah has always been there," says Michele Dix of MTV. "And we'll treat the next video as we have all of her clips. She's a staple for us."