A fan of the former rhythm-and-blues singer and actress Aaliyah listens to the new Aaliyah album Aug. 27, 2001, in New York City.
Photo: Spencer Platt (Getty Images)

Hey, fam! Remember that time we all rejoiced because Aaliyah’s full discography was coming to streaming services? Sike!

Cut to better days, back in December, when it was reported Aaliyah’s entire discography would be released on every major streaming platform, including Spotify, Apple Music, TIDAL and Prime Music on her birthday (she would’ve been 41 this year).


In fact, I specifically said I was marking Jan. 16 on my calendar.

When Aaliyah’s birthday hit, fans rushed to stream the long lost music, but welp, her discography was nowhere to be found, save for her first album, Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number and a select few songs, which had been readily available for a while.

Of course, we all felt hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray, run amok!


Naturally, some fans directed their disappointment and anger to the messenger himself, Aaliyah’s uncle Barry Hankerson. But, see, Hankerson isn’t “just the messenger”—the man holds the key to the late singer’s discography under his Blackground Records label.


The Twitter profile linked to Hankerson was private at the time of the streaming service announcement, but as I write this, the profile has now completely ceased to exist.

@BarryHankerson Twitter Profile
Screenshot: Twitter

So, now I’m left questioning the validity of the profile. Was it the real Hankerson or were we duped all along? And if the profile was the real Hankerson, was this a case of (rather cruel) trolling? Did he change his mind or did the streaming deal(s) fall through for some reason? Also, this disappearance has shattered all hope for similar releases from Timbaland & Magoo, Toni Braxton, Tank, and JoJo, who were all once signed to the label.

This whole Blackground saga hasn’t been without its twists and turns, so anything is possible at this point.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.

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