Aaliyah‘s uncle, producer Barry Hankerson, has issued a statement regarding the digital re-release of the late singer’s second album, ‘One In A Million’.
Hankerson, who founded Aaliyah’s former label Blackground Records and owns all of the artist’s masters, announced earlier this month that her entire catalogue would be re-released digitally.
‘One In A Million’, the singer’s 1996 album – produced by Timbaland and Missy Elliot – was released to streaming platforms on August 20 following a new partnership with independent label EMPIRE. Her debut album ‘Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number’ was previously the only one of her three albums available digitally.
As reported by Complex, Hankerson expressed his gratitude in a statement released yesterday (August 21) to those involved in the project – particularly Aaliyah’s parents and managers, Diane and Michael Haughton.
Hankerson wrote: “As the owner of Aaliyah’s catalog and label Blackground Records, I want to thank you all for allowing ‘One In A Million’ to chart #3 in the world.
“I cannot take the credit for managing Aaliyah as that was never a title I held. That title belonged to Diane Haughton and her husband who managed Aaliyah from the start of her career until her passing.
“I want to thank Diane, Aaliyah’s manager, for allowing and choosing Blackground Records to become her label.”
Hankerson continued, thanking his son, Jomo Hankerson, for his role in the process before concluding with thanks to Aaliyah’s fans. “Thank you to all of her many fans for keeping her music alive,” he said.
“I’m sorry it took so long, but when you lose a family member so unexpectedly, it takes time to deal with that type of grief. I decided to release Aaliyah’s music in order to keep her legacy alive.”
Upon the announcement of Hankerson’s intention to release the catalogue, he was met with backlash from Aaliyah’s estate, who called his intent an “unscrupulous endeavor”. A strongly worded statement was issued via the R&B icon’s social media with the hashtag #IStandWithAaliyah.
“For 20 years we have battled behind the scenes, enduring shadowy tactics of deception with unauthorized projects targeted to tarnish,” the statement reads. “Now, in this 20th year, this unscrupulous endeavor to release Aaliyah’s music without transparency or full accounting to the estate compels our hearts to express a word – forgiveness.”
Aaliyah’s estate said that it intends to “continue to defend ourselves and her legacy lawfully and justly.”
Aaliyah’s third and final album, 2001’s ‘ΛΛLIYΛH’, will be reissued on September 10, before compilation albums ‘I Care 4 U’ and ‘Ultimate Aaliyah’ are added to streaming services on October 8.