Candle in the wind:

Aaliyah was born in Brooklyn, New York on January 16, 1979 as Aaliyah Dana Haughton. She moved to Detroit when she was five years old. Her first acting role was as an orphan when her elementary school performed the play, “Annie.” She wasn’t the main orphan. At 10 years old, she performed on Star Search, which was a very popular talent show at the time. She lost. When she was 11 years old, she performed with Gladys Knight. Aaliyah’s uncle, Barry Hankerson, was Gladys’ ex-husband. It was at age 12 that the things happened which caused her music career to soar.

Barry was the manager for Robert Kelly, better known as R Kelly. R Kelly was a popular singer and extraordinary producer then, as he is now. I probably need to make a webpage about him. With guidance and guest vocals from R Kelly, Aaliyah’s first album was formed. It was called, “Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number.” This is when I got my first Aaliyah album.

Shortly after she became popular, rumours started. People were saying Aaliyah had a relationship with R Kelly. While the rumours were never publicly confirmed, the stories were fueled by the title of her album, and the obviously close relationship between Aaliyah and R Kelly. The rumors peaked with people saying there were a marriage license and an abortion. The next album was, “One In A Million.” Interestingly, R Kelly wasn’t on this one. She met Timbaland though. Timbaland is another extraordinary producer. Aaliyah’s success grew even more. Her list of songs for movie soundtracks was increasing too. This is the album with my favourite song, “Hot Like Fire.” I like the remix. Her biggest contribution to a soundtrack was probably for the movie, “Romeo Must Die.” This was also her first movie role. Unlike her role in Annie, this time Aaliyah was the star, and she was alongside Jet Li, a popular actor and martial artist.

This brings us to Aaliyah’s third album, “Aaliyah.” Her first single, “We Need A Resolution,” shows how she has grown as a woman. At only 22 years old, Aaliyah had a successful movie, two successful albums, and many fans behind her. She had an even more promising career in front of her. Her last artistic work was the filming of the music video, “Rock The Boat.”

After the filming of the video, Aaliyah and those who worked with her were returning home on a small plane. The plane crashed, killing everyone onboard. Even a person who has “everything”, it seems, can suddenly have it all taken away. Hip-Hop historians accredit Aaliyah’s debut album, Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number, for paving the way for Brandy, Monica, and the plethora of other teen stars who go by one name.

Personal Quotes:

“Well, I think that the image is a part of me. I wear the baggy pants, the hats, the whole nine. And you know, I may add a little for the excitement and the intrigue in the videos, but my family has told me that little air of mystery that surrounds me is for real.”

“I think it’s important to take a break, you know, from the public eye for a while, and give people a chance to miss you. I want longevity. I don’t want to get out there and run myself ragged and spread myself thin.”

“I’ve always been mysterious. There are times when I don’t understand myself... I think I’m a bit of a vampire in real life, and there are times when I just want to be myself.”

Star trivia:

Enjoyed reading novels by Stephen King Auditioned for the Elton John Broadway Show AIDA Auditioned for a role on the television sitcom “Family Matters” (1989) Aaliyah is Arabic for “highest, most exalted one” Had 3 tattoos: her initial and a star on her hand, a music symbol on her ankle and a dove on her lower back Voted First Place by the readers of Black Men Magazine for “The 10 Sexiest Women of the Year.”

Performed with Gladys Knight at age eleven in Las Vegas.

Rapper pleads not guilty in awards melee

Los Angeles:

The rapper Young Buck pleaded not guilty Friday to an assault charge for allegedly stabbing a man during a melee last year at the Vibe Awards. The 23-year-old rapper, whose given name is David Darnell Brown, is accused of stabbing Jimmy James Johnson in retaliation after Johnson allegedly punched Brown’s mentor, Dr. Dre, during the Nov 15 taping of the show. Dre, a producer and rap star whose name is Andre Young, was about to receive a lifetime achievement award when he was punched. The attack set off a chair-throwing brawl that spread through the crowd.

Johnson pleaded not guilty Monday to a felony assault charge for allegedly hitting Dre in the face after asking for an autograph. Brown surrendered to police Nov 19 and has been free on $500,000 bail. If convicted, he faces up to eight years in prison, authorities said. Brown is expected back at court Feb 18 when a court date will be scheduled to determine if there is enough evidence for a trial. — AP

Woman sentenced for extorting Dion’s hubby

Las Vegas:

Saying the case “all about greed,” a judge sentenced a woman to up to five years in prison for using a rape allegation to try to extort millions of dollars from singer Celine Dion’s husband. “You got $2 million and you wanted more,” Judge Jackie Glass told Yun Kyeong Kwon Sung, 49, Thursday. “That’s why you are standing here today.” Dion’s husband, Rene Angelil, had paid Sung and her husband $2 million in June 2000, several months after Sung accused Angelil of fondling her in a hotel room on the Las Vegas Strip.

Angelil’s lawyer, David Chesnoff, has said the payment and an apology were not an admission of guilt, but rather were made out of Angelil’s concern for his and his wife’s health and public images. Facing prosecution two years later for almost $1 million in unpaid casino gambling debts, Sung sought more money from Angelil. A jury last year convicted the woman of demanding $13.5 million during a January 2003 meeting between lawyers for both sides. Police secretly recorded what prosecutors characterized as a threat to go to police with the rape allegation. Angelil has denied the rape allegation. On Thursday, Sung insisted it was true, telling the judge she was targeted by Angelil’s attorneys for retribution. — AP

Golden Globes come to Hollywood

Los Angeles:

The Golden Globes are the Hollywood awards equivalent of that phrase “famous for being famous” applied to celebrities known more for just being there than doing anything notable. No one knows just how a small group of foreign entertainment reporters, some with minimal press credentials, managed to create and maintain a ceremony second only to the Academy Awards in prominence among Hollywood film honours.

Yet the all-star lineup at Sunday’s 62nd annual Golden Globes will attest to the fact that Tinseltown takes this show seriously, despite the backhanded wisecracks Hollywood types make about the event’s legitimacy. Though chosen by the otherwise obscure Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a group of only about 90 people, the Globes have conspicuous air time on NBC and exert influence on the Oscar race. Globe nominations are the first significant film honours in the awards season, and the outcome Sunday can help solidify a frontrunner’s Oscar prospects or elevate a dark horse’s chances if any surprise winners result. “You never know. That’s the exciting part about watching the Golden Globes and Oscars,” said Leonardo DiCaprio, a Golden Globe nominee and likely Oscar contender for best actor for the Howard Hughes epic “The Aviator.” “Even if a person looks like a lock on winning an award, the Golden Globes and Oscars could be completely different. It’s like watching an election.” Other key acting nominees include Jamie Foxx as singer Ray Charles in “Ray”; Annette Bening as a slyly vengeful stage diva in “Being Julia”; Johnny Depp as “Peter Pan” playwright J.M. Barrie in “Finding Neverland”; and Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman for the boxing drama “Million Dollar Baby.” — AP

Ethiopia gears up for late Bob Marley’s 60th birthday

Addis Ababa:

Ethiopia is preparing a massive party next month to mark the 60th birthday of late reggae superstar Bob Marley, the first time the annual event has been held outside the singer’s native Jamaica. Some 2,00,000 people are expected to attend the giant celebration featuring concerts from scores of African and international musicians that will start five days before Marley’s February 6 birthday, organizers said Friday. Marley’s widow, Rita, chose Ethiopia as the site of this year’s commemoration “Africa Unite” for symbolic reasons, Desta Meghoo-Peddie, president of the Bob Marley Foundation told reporters here.

Not only is former Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie, born Ras Tafari, the spiritual leader of the rastafarian movement that Marley embraced and popularized with his music but Addis Ababa is home to the African Union. “It was always Bob Marley’s desire to return to Ethiopia and to be a rastafarian,” Meghoo-Peddie said. — AFP

Murray movie sparks vintage shoe demand

Los Angeles:

Hollywood actor Bill Murray’s latest film “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou” has sparked an unexpected demand for the sports shoes that feature in it. Fans are urging shoemakers Adidas to manufacture the “Zissou” sneakers worn by Murray and others in the movie, reported contactmusic.com. According to an Adidas spokesperson, the yellow-and-blue sneakers were custom-made for the film and there are no plans to manufacture them on a mass scale.

However, a website site shows fans how to make their own Zissou sneaker, based on the rare 1960 Adidas ROM shoe. The Wes Anderson film, co-starring Owen Wilson, deals with the life of oceanographer Steve Zissou and his eccentric crew. — HNS

Norton to star in “The Illusionist”

Los Angeles:

Hollywood actor Edward Norton is to star as a 19th century magician in a new movie called “The Illusionist,” the entertainment industry press said. Norton, 35, the star of such films as 1999’s “Fight Club” and 2003’s “The Italian Job,” will play a turn-of-the-20th century illusionist in Vienna in the adaptation of Steven Millhauser’s short story “Eisenheim the Illusionist.” Industry bible Daily Variety said the film would start shooting in Prague in April with Neil Burger directing. — AFP

Alicia Keys to sing before Super Bowl

New York:

Alicia Keys will sing “America the Beautiful” prior to this year’s Super Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. It will be just the third time the song is sung at the Super Bowl — previously performed only by Vicki Carr and Ray Charles. Accompanying Keys will be 150 students from the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, which Charles attended as a youth in 1937. “I’m very excited to be playing at the Super Bowl for the first time especially because I will be singing a song made famous by an artist I admire, miss and respect, Ray Charles, along with the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind,” said Keys in a statement released Thursday. “I know that this is going to be a very touching and memorable moment.” The game’s halftime show will feature a performance by Paul McCartney. Last year’s mid-game celebration with Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake produced widespread controversy after Jackson’s breast was exposed. — AP

Angelina behind Pitt-Aniston split?

Los Angeles:

“Tomb Raider” star Angelina Jolie is rumoured to be the prime factor behind the recent split of Hollywood couple Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. Although the “Ocean’s Eleven” star and his wife denied media speculations about their official separation after four-and-a-half years of marriage, imdb.com reported that Jolie’s involvement in the matter is widely known.

British newspaper News Of The World was told by a source that Aniston, 34, heard Pitt and his “Mr & Mrs Smith” co-star Jolie having phone sex. “They would speak on the phone all the time. Jennifer listened in on the conversation. I don’t know if she accidentally picked up the phone or deliberately did that. Either way, she went ballistic,” the source was quoted as saying.

Arguments between the couple over the issue of starting a family have also been advanced as reasons for the split. Pitt, 41, is reportedly keen to become a father while former “Friends” star Aniston wants to concentrate on her film career. The British tabloid Daily Star wrote that the marriage collapsed because Pitt adores playing father to Jolie’s adopted son, Maddox. An insider told the publication, “Jen became furious when he pointed out that at 29 Angelina is six years younger than her and is managing to combine motherhood and a successful career.” — HNS

Neeson may return to ‘Star Wars’

Los Angeles:

Oscarwinner Liam Neeson has hinted that he may return to George Lucas’ new “Star Wars” film to play the ghost of his character, Jedi master Qui-Gon Jinn, who died in “Star Wars: Episode I —The Phantom Menace”. The star of “Schindler’s List” hinted that a top-secret cameo with co-star Samuel L. Jackson was recently shot for “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith”, reported Contactmusic.com. But Neeson has refused to give details about the project. The film, which is the seventh in the “Star Wars” franchise, will be released in May 2005. — HNS