Aaliyah, the rising R&B star who had her life cut short almost 20 years ago, almost avoided the tragic flight that killed her. But in a new book that goes back to the fateful days in question, the 22-year-old was allegedly drugged to get her through the flight, a bold claim that surfaced following the equally tragic loss of Kobe Bryant.
In Baby Girl: Better Known as Aaliyah, written by music journalist Kathy Iandoli, the known facts of the fatal flight meet new details from a man from the Abaco Islands. Kingsley Russel posted a video in February 2020 describing Kobe Bryant's fatal helicopter crash, connecting it to what he claims he saw with Aaliyah's flight.
EXCLUSIVE: A new book alleges that the late pop star Aaliyah did not want to board the aircraft and was given a pill that knocked her out before her tragic plane-crash death in August 2001. https://t.co/s0HXL0HDXZ— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) August 1, 2021
According to The Daily Beast and a chat with Iandoli, Kingsley claims that the R&B star, already facing fears of flying, was drugged by her entourage to get her through the flight. As noted in reports following the fatal crash, the plane was over the legal weight limits and the pilot had cocaine and alcohol in their system, confirmed by a toxicology report. Russell adds a few more troubling details to these facts.
"[The airport staff] and Aaliyah had the common sense that the plane was overweight," he says in the book, adding that the singer had gotten back into the taxi and eventually fell asleep. "They took her out of the van; she didn't even know she was getting boarded on a plane. She went on the airplane asleep."
Kingsley alleges he saw Aaliyah refuse to get on the plane, then saw an entourage member give the singer a pill that put her asleep enough to move her to the plane. Iandoli almost didn't want to include the pill detail in the book, but kept it because of how it "fit" the story.
"In learning that she did not want to get on the plane, for someone like myself and so many other people, I think that's closure for us," Iandoli tells the outlet. "The only thing I've taken with me is that after 20 years, I can finally say that Aaliyah didn't want to get on the plane. That makes me feel a little better, but not much. This didn't have to happen. She should still be here, and I think that's the saddest part about it."
The allegations around the flight and Aaliyah's state before the fatal flight took off can be disputed and will likely remain questions without any closure. But the outcome of the flight and the loss of life will never be in dispute. If this news gives Iandoli and other fans closure, that's a positive out of the tragedy.