Aaliyah Recalled at MTV Awards


Aaliyah, the young R&B; singer whose death in an Aug. 25 plane crash has cast a pall over much of the pop music world, was memorialized Thursday night by Janet Jackson and other stars at the 18th annual MTV Video Music Awards in New York City. The show also featured a brief, surprise performance by Michael Jackson, the reclusive superstar who will next month release his first studio album in six years.

The awards show, aired live on the East Coast, set aside an early segment for a somber farewell to the singer-actress who died in the Bahamas in a crash that may have been caused by an overloaded plane. Janet Jackson introduced the segment by reading a letter from a young fan in Georgia.

“Aaliyah gave more to us in her 22 years than most will ever contribute in a lifetime,” she read. “It’s one thing to recognize your gift, but it’s an extraordinary blessing to share your talent with the world . . . . We haven’t lost anyone, we’ve only gained an angel.”

The late singer’s brother, Rashad Houghton, fought back tears as he remembered accompanying his sister to the same stage last year, and rappers Ginuwine, Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott and celebrated producer Timbaland also spoke during the segment.


Aaliyah’s most recent album, a self-titled collection, surged Wednesday to No. 1 on the U.S. album charts after falling as low as No. 27 before the crash.

Michael Jackson performed briefly with ‘N Sync at the awards show. The singer’s reemergence includes a two-night, all-star celebration of his 30th anniversary in show business, tonight and Monday at Madison Square Garden in New York.

See Morning Report (Calendar, F2) and for more on winners at the MTV Video Music Awards.