ABC’s ‘Superstar: Aaliyah’ to Explore Late Singer’s Life, Legacy and Marriage to R. Kelly

Superstar Aaliyah (Credit: ABC News)

The upcoming ABC News special Superstar: Aaliyah will bring the story of the late singer’s life to the screen.

The one-hour special follows Aaliyah’s rise from a teenage performer with big dreams, to a chart-topping music icon.

The trailer, released Tuesday, opens with Aaliyah sharing her dreams in her own words.

“From the moment I stepped foot on stage, I was like, ‘This is what I want to do. I have to do this, I’m happy doing this,'” she says.

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The preview quickly takes a disturbing turn.

“She was an R. Kelly protégé,” music journalist Touré reminds the audience.

The trailer then delves into now-convicted sexual predator R. Kelly’s fraudulent marriage to Aaliyah in the 1990s, when he was 27 and she was just 15.

An indictment filed in New York federal court against R. Kelly in 2019, charged the disgraced singer and producer with bribery for allegedly paying off an Illinois official to obtain a fake ID so he could marry Aaliyah when she was underage.

Aaliyah was “preyed upon,” a voiceover in the trailer for the special says.

Yet the talented singer and actress overcame and thrived as an artist.

“She was on the fast track to being one of the biggest stars in the world,” the trailer says.

But it ended when Aaliyah Haughton was killed in a plane crash in the Bahamas in 2001. She was 22 years old when she died.

Superstar: Aaliyah will also feature interviews with those who were close to Aaliyah including music executive Damon Dash, her former boyfriend; Barry Hankerson, her manager and uncle; and recording engineer and producer Jimmy Douglass, who worked with Aaliyah in the studio, ABC News said in a June 6. press release.

Viewers will also hear from recording artists who cite Aaliyah as an influence, including Justine Skye, Sevyn Streeter and In addition, the program features interviews with fashion designer Karl Kani, who opens up about what it was like to style Aaliyah; and designer and stylist Aleali May, who reflects on Aaliyah as a muse.

The special is produced by ABC News. David Sloan serves as senior executive producer. Muriel Pearson is executive producer and Gabriel Noble is a producer.

Superstar: Aaliyah airs Wednesday, June 14 from 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET on ABC and will be available the next day on Hulu.