These two…man. So beautiful, so talented. Ananda held it down for the longest on Teen Summit. She brought that gravitas to the discussions even while she maintained that down-to-earth, around-the-way, cool older sister vibe. She stayed cool even when she moved on to MTV, back when the M still stood for music. She’s a deep, thoughtful soul. Surprisingly Lewis struggled with a speech impediment, stuttering until she was eight years old. In grade school she earned a reputation for outspokenness; her comments provoked her teachers’ ire or, less often, their amusement. Fortunately for all of us, Ananda never stopped speaking her mind. For example:
In 1998, Lewis made headlines while at MTV when she announced, that she intended to remain abstinent for at least six months. She states:
“I made the decision for selfish reasons, but I’m going public here because I realized I might be able to help other girls, too. I know the kind of drama that being sexually active brings to your life. I felt that if it was good for me to take a break, it might be good for other young girls, too. You see, I think I would be a whole different person if I hadn’t had sex so early. Everybody was saying, ‘Do it!’ but nobody ever said, ‘You don’t have to do it’. I think hearing that would have made a huge difference in my life.”
Who even does that? It was bold back then, but it’s almost radical today. I respect her thoughtfulness, her candor, and her decision to just be who she is and be open with her life.
And Aaliyah…Detroit stand up. She’s just gone too soon, and she was going to another level musically and artistically in terms of film when she tragically died. It’s always sad when someone is gone too soon, but some people are so talented that you really feel what you’re missing…people like Michael Jackson (if you’ve seen This Is It, you know that the world missed out on what would have been the greatest concert of all time. I promise, Michael Jackson’s rehearsals kill other people’s concerts. For real), Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Winehouse, Heath Ledger, Tupac…you hear what they did and you see who has stepped in to try and fill the void and you realize that we’ve been robbed of a singular talent. The thing that makes Aaliyah’s death even tougher, though, is that many tragic deaths you can at least try and halfway rationalize to yourself, “well, death was, in part, a consequence of X.” You can make it make sense. But all Aaliyah did was get on a plane. The pilot, Luis Morales III, was unlicensed at the time of the accident and had traces of cocaine and alcohol in his system. Aaliyah’s sold over 52 million records worldwide.