Dearest Aaliyah

If I could speak to my idol 20 years later, here’s what I’d say to her

Jada Gomez
2 min readAug 20, 2021

It’s been a big week for Aaliyah fans. Her album One In A Million is finally available on streaming services after two decades of radio silence. And the biography, Baby Girl: Better Known As Aaliyah gives fans a glimpse behind her beloved swoop bangs with a look at her life behind the scenes.

I’m thankful to have the opportunity to contribute to the fan section of the book. Here’s what I had to say.

Dear Aaliyah,

When I hear your name, there’s always one memory that instantly comes to mind and fills me with happiness.

I think of the night you performed “Journey To The Past” during the Oscars in 1998. I was so thrilled to see you share your magic on such a huge night, and I made my mother sit on the couch with me and watch your big moment. You looked beautiful as always, and I beamed at the sight of you in a beautiful gown. Your fans had only seen you in your cool baggy jeans aesthetic. It’s just one of the lasting impressions you’ve left on my life.

You came into my musical existence when I was 11 years old, a time when I was so shy, quiet, and only confident about school. In you, I saw a role model to help me find my way, and you validated some of my traits. You modeled calm, quiet confidence for me at a time when I needed it most. And in my way, I adopted you as my big sister.

Now that I’m an adult, I think of the memories you didn’t get to make in your own life. Would you have done more movies? Or perhaps launch a MAC collection yourself, designed with your personal touch?

What would have been?

Decades later, your music sounds as current (and dare I say, even better) as music on the radio today. Babies are still named after you, and teens wear T-shirts with your likeness all the time. I picture you growing as timeless as one of your idols, Sade.

In 22 years, you showed us a full, warm, kind, beautiful life well-lived. And I carry your memory with me as long as I am on this earth.

With all the love in my heart to our little purple star.



Jada Gomez

Senior Platform Editor at Medium. Girl with the long last name from the Empire State. NYU Alum. Runner. Puppy Mommy. Smiler.