Aaliyah and DMX

That’s DMX and his entire crew. 4 rows deep, it looks like.

Despite it’s appearance, this isn’t the beginning of a Ruff Ryders video. No popping wheelies, no barking, no screaming, none of that.

This large group of men are standing there, behind DMX, as he makes this 33 second speech:

Dearest sweet Aaliyah,
I have trouble accepting the fact that you’re gone, so i won’t.
It’ll be like… we went for a while without seeing each other.
But i can understand… why god would have wanted you close to him,
because you truly were an angel on earth.
And in my own special way, I love you.
I miss you.

Those 20+ men behind DMX are there, I’d like to believe, to support him as he struggles through one of the most personal and heartfelt public statements he will ever make. He says it, and the way he pauses to collect his thoughts lets you know that it wasn’t something prepared by his publicist or someone in his circle. This was just Earl, saying goodbye to his girl Aaliyah that he lost 10 years ago, today. 

Watching this as a 14 year old boy, in the height of my quest to figure out what masculinity was all about and how to best express myself, my mind was blown. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing.

These words were coming out of the mouth of DMX. Dark Man X. One of my Black angst heroes. Every guard that he had ever put up (and ultimately encouraged me to put up) as a semi-tough Black man in America, came crumbling down.

Rarely at that point in my life had I seen a “tough Black man” be that emotional in my entire life. Not crying, but wanting to cry, probably needing to cry, but not crying. I remember watching it, feeling a rush of goosebumps on goosebumps ravage my arms and legs, and almost becoming immobilized as he and a bevy of others showed their true feelings towards the beautiful, wonderful woman that was Aaliyah.

Her passing crushed me, because I was completely in love with her. She was (and still is) this prototype of perfection that men want to find, women want to find, other women want to be and if men can’t get her and women can’t find her or be her, they genuinely don’t have an issue settling as her best friend.

It’s hard to watch the video, but at the same time I want to watch it over and over again. I want to constantly remind myself about how amazing Aaliyah was and how much she was loved. It’s an unsettling feeling, because she left too soon, but the beauty in the video is almost unparalleled. A perfect tribute. 

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About Rembert Browne

NYC via ATL //// rembert.browne@gmail.com 500daysasunder.wordpress.com
This entry was posted in Music. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Aaliyah and DMX

  1. danny says:

    I never had the heart to watch this video fully and so watching it today made me realize how time quickly passes by and yet the beauty and the way we almost immortalize Aaliyah as this good-hearted and sweet human being still remains in our mind. I remember right after the days of 9/11 her tragic accident definitely left a void in me that even today sometimes leave me baffled at what she could have been and all the great performances and charitable deeds she would have continued to pursue all on behalf of her fans, her family/friends and to the world. She’s a class act all on her own and I’m grateful to have grown up having her as one of my favorite artists.

  2. namita says:

    Beautifully written. This captures exactly my feelings when I first watched this video. My favorite part of the video was definitely DMX’s intro because it portrayed pure and genuine love that seemed contradictory to his rap persona. Along with Missy and Timbaland, he seemed to be one of the few people in the music industry who truly knew and loved Aaliyah. And Aaliyah still is, as far as I know, unrivaled as one of the top R&B vocalists. I’m glad that I’m not the only one who still remembers her greatness.

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