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  • Writer's pictureEd Gaines

Battle Between Aaliyah’s Estate and Former Manager Breaks Into the Open

A long-running battle between the estate of the late R&B singer Aaliyah and her uncle/ former manager and label chief Barry Hankerson broke into the open on Wednesday after teasers about forthcoming music were posted online.

Aaliyah died in a 2001 plane crash when she was just 22. She could be the most popular and prominent artist whose most successful recordings are not available on streaming services, apparently due to a conflict between Hankerson and the estate that has gone on for the better part of two decades.

Aaliyah’s estate on Wednesday condemned what it called an “unscrupulous endeavor” to release music from the late singer after social media posts and a website appeared to tease upcoming material with the hashtag #Aaliyahiscoming. (The social media accounts were launched last month.)

Hankerson has been attempting to release a 2012 album of rare Aaliyah material — which was executive-produced by Drake — for many years.

The estate said Wednesday, Although we will continue to defend ourselves and her legacy lawfully and justly, we want to preempt the inevitable attacks on our character by all the individuals who have emerged from the shadows to leech off of Aaliyah’s life’s work. Ultimately, we desire closure and a modicum of peace so we can facilitate the growth of the Aaliyah Memorial Fund and other creative projects that embody Aaliyah’s true essence, which is to inspire strength and positivity for people of all creeds, races and cultures around the world.”

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