*In conjunction with the re-release of 5x Grammy-nominated superstar Aaliyah’s third studio album, ΛΛLIYΛH, Blackground Records 2.0, in partnership with Empire, hosted a pop-up event ‘More Than A Woman – The Aaliyah Experience’ in honor of the late icon and her musical legacy that occurred September 14-15, 2021.
With production by Six Degrees, the experience brings Aaliyah’s career to life for fans in the form of a multi-set immersive event in New York City, paying homage to her eternal legacy and spirit across music, fashion, art, and culture. Guests were able to view never before seen BTS footage of the making of the “Rock The Boat” music video and a physical re-make of Aaliyah’s dressing room. The bottom floor of the event, sponsored by streaming service Pandora, brought guests into NYC’s subway with posters reminiscent of the “One In A Million” album art, allowing guests to share messages and post them on the walls along with a karaoke machine and a mural honoring Aaliyah and DMX.
DJ Enuff, Vina Love, DJ Suss One, Kenny Hamilton, Autumn Marini, Ghazi, Shai Alexander-Gilgeous, and DJ Clue were in attendance at the exclusive opening night event.
TV Correspondent and journalist Ty Cole turned out for the exclusive opening night where excited fans lined up to get inside, “The ambiance was beautiful. The first song I heard was “Rock the Boat,” and that’s one of my favorite of Aaliyah, which set the tone for the evening.” He recollects that everywhere attendees looked, iconic posters of the songstress hung up throughout the event space.
The drinks served during the evening were named after her signature songs like ‘Hot Like Fire,’ which was the most requested drink of the night.
Cole recalls that one of the event’s biggest highlights was experiencing her recreated dressing room and seeing a big bucket of Starbursts, which was her favorite candy. “They got the original hand-written letters from her fans from when she was alive, like from the early 2000s, and had them posted up on her mirror, it was so beautiful, and you could take pictures,” he says.
The event brought a high level of authenticity to Aaliyah for those who never had the chance to meet her. Aaliyah’s popular songs were played throughout the evening as patrons went downstairs to participate in a photo booth and do karaoke. Another section was dedicated to writing a letter to her and pin it on the wall.
Coles says, “It was a great time. It would be best to walk through it because while she isn’t here, it also showcased how iconic she was. The CEO of Empire said, if you are an artist today and there is no piece of Aaliyah within your artistry, then you know you are doing something wrong.”
Aaliyah will always be a part of music history and influences artists like Normani at the MTV VMAs, who paid homage to her with her song “Wild Side” and Janet Jackson, and TLC.
“I’m glad that people get to experience her music now with her albums that are out and currently streaming everywhere. I’m also looking forward to the proposed [future] album, which will feature a lot of amazing artists from Ne-Yo, to Drake, and so many more. Aaliyah, she will always live on for years to come,” says Cole.
ABOUT BLACKGROUND RECORDS 2.0:
Founded by Barry and Jomo Hankerson and launched in 1993, Blackground Records became a staple name in music and pop culture in the 1990s and early 2000s with the Hankerson’s expert ear for artist development that would evolve into prolific careers for the aforementioned artists. Over the years, Blackground Records – with artists such as the late Aaliyah, Timbaland, Tank, and JoJo – sold millions of records, had ten Top 10 Billboard 200 albums, and won countless awards. Now, as Blackground Records 2.0, Hankerson plans to continue their undeniable impact on pop culture.
Founded in 2010 by Bay Area native Ghazi Shami, EMPIRE is leading its innovative approach to the digital music era across its label, distribution, and publishing arms. Ghazi has been recognized for his work in Billboard’s 2021 Indie Power Players list, as well as Billboard’s 2021 R&B/Hip-Hop Power Players. With its focus on early-stage artist development, the San Francisco-based company has been instrumental in launching the careers of multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Cardi B, DRAM, and Anderson .Paak.
By crafting bespoke deals that are always in favor of the artist, EMPIRE can form a true partnership with each artist and label on its roster. Coupled with EMPIRE’s unique software for analytics, recoupment, and royalties, which is available to every partner, the company offers a level of transparency unprecedented in the music industry.
In conjunction with the re-release of 5x Grammy-nominated superstar Aaliyah’s third studio album, ΛΛLIYΛH, Blackground Records 2.0, in partnership with EMPIRE, hosted a pop-up event ‘More Than A Woman – The Aaliyah Experience’ in honor of the late icon and her musical legacy this past Friday and Saturday.