Jomo Hankerson, the cousin and head of Aaliyah’s former record label, Blackground Records, recently broke his 14-year interview silence to discuss recent events involving his deceased family member and her estate.
“At the time she was huge, you had Biggie and Faith were together,” Hankerson said when asked about the relationship between R. Kelly and Aaliyah. “It was a lot of things like that in the business at that time, so I think it was just indicative of the times. When you hear that first album it was, it was obviously a lot of creative chemistry on that record. What was surprising to me was that after it all came out, it was kind of like Aaliyah got villainized somehow and that’s the part I never understood.”
Famously, Drake had taken a serious interest in creating a posthumous album with Aaliyah, something he called off late last year. Hankerson said he does like the song he created with Aaliyah and the one singer Chris Brown also made with Aaliyah vocals.
“I like the Chris [Brown] record, I like the Drake record,” he said. “For me, what people don’t really know because in the media age, that we’re in, Aaliyah always worked with a lot of producers and songwriters.”
In the first part of the interview, Hankerson talked about his disapproval of Lifetime network’s creation of a movie about Aaliyah and says the channel never came to them ever about creating it.
“We feel like [television’s] really not the right platform,” he said. “Aaliyah was a legend. She was a hugely influential artist on our culture… I think that she deserves the treatment of a ‘Walk The Line’ or a ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It?’ A big, major movie.”
Hankerson also noted that there is a definite possibility that he along with the family will try to produce a film representing the singer in the way they see fit. He also said he has no problem with Zendaya Coleman, who was recently cast as Aaliyah in the upcoming Lifetime dramatization, as his concern is more with the movie network’s handling of the situation.
Aaliyah and seven others were killed in a plane crash in 2001. Since then the rights to her unreleased music and portrayal of her life have been up in the air.
Hear segments of the full interview here.