Aaliyah: At her best, eternally

The Undefeated

Beautiful. Adventurous. Gifted. Mysterious. And by Aug. 25, 2001, Aaliyah Dana Haughton, at the age of 22, was gone. On the 15th anniversary of her tragic death, The Undefeated pays tribute to the teen sensation turned grown woman superstar singer and actress. In a manner felicitous to her unfathomable aura, she is frozen in time. Death doesn’t erase memories. It enhances them. From her 1989 Star Search appearance to her 1994 debut album Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number to her rare and deep bonds with Missy Elliott, Timbaland and DMX to her relationship with Roc-A-Fella Records co-founder Dame Dash and the countless moments in between, this is the life. Slices of her public life. Her place in our lives. Rest in peace, Baby Girl. Better known as Aaliyah. – Justin Tinsley

R&B singer and actress Aaliyah in May 2001. Aaliyah passed Aug. 25, 2001, when a small plane that was to carry her and eight others back to the United States crashed after takeoff in the Bahamas. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
Aaliyah backstage at New York City’s Madison Square Garden during the Urban Aid 4 Lifebeat benefit concert Oct. 5, 1995. (Photo by Catherine McGann/Getty Images)

Aaliyah and Missy Elliott during the 12th annual Soul Train Music Awards at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Walter/WireImage)
Aaliyah performs at radio station KMEL’s Summer Jam Festival at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California, on Aug. 2, 1998. (Tim Mosenfelder/ImageDirect)

Aaliyah with her brother Rashad Haughton at MTV’s 20th anniversary party at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City on Aug. 1, 2001. (Photo by Evan Agostini/ImageDirect)
From left: Jay Z, Aaliyah, Bijou Phillips and Kidada Jones at a Tommy Hilfiger Party at Bar North in Los Angeles. (Photo by J. Vespa/WireImage)
Hot like fire: Aaliyah at the 1997 Life Tribute Gala in Irvine, Florida. (Photo by Chris Walter/WireImage)
Beyoncé and Aaliyah. (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
Sean Combs and Aaliyah. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Aaliyah and Damon Dash attend the premiere of Planet of the Apes at New York City’s Ziegfeld Theater in 2001. (Photo by Steve Eichner/Getty Images)
From left: Busta Rhymes, Aaliyah, Pink, Stevie Wonder, Mya and Tyrese. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Aaliyah as Queen Akasha from the 2002 film Queen of the Damned. (Photo by Warner Bros./Getty Images)
In a photo from August 2001: a mural in memory of Aaliyah painted on the side of a building in the New York City’s East Village. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
An antique glass-paneled carriage, pulled by a pair of cream-colored horses, bears the casket of Aaliyah along Madison Avenue from the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel to the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola. Aaliyah died Aug. 25, 2001, in a plane crash in the Bahamas, where she’d been shooting a video. (Photo by Robert Rosamilio/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Mourning fans add their tributes to banks of flowers as Aaliyah’s casket is borne from New York City’s Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel. (Photo by Robert Rosamilio/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Fans hold a memorial for Aaliyah at New York City’s Cipriani restaurant as the funeral service was held uptown at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola on Aug. 31, 2001. (Photo by George De Sota/Getty Images)
A fan of R&B singer/actress Aaliyah looks on at a record store mural of the late singer in what has become a shrine dedicated to her after her death in a plane crash in the Bahamas. (Photo by Steve Grayson/WireImage)