This is actually something I wrote back in 2008. Still applies
Today marks the seventh year anniversary of the death of Aaliyah. The hip-hop community has had a few tragic deaths in its history, but this one marks me as truly shocking. She wasn’t embroiled in beef or doing something she shouldn’t have been. She was simply living her dream and doing her life’s work when she was tragicallly killed in a plane crash. I read somewhere on the internet today that Aaliyah fans, or just music fans in general, could remember exactly where they were when they heard the news. I know I do. It was the beginning of my junior year of high school on Saturday August 25 and I had just come back home from hanging with my friends when one of them called me and told me the news. I didn’t want to believe it, partly because my mom had mixed up her name with Brandy while trying to give me the message, but I was shocked when I learned the news. My friends and I stayed on the phone until early in the morning trying to find out if it was true. It was really strange because I remember that day specifically being on an Aaliyah kick. Her third album Aaliyah had just come out that summer and after giving it a break I decided for some reason to put it back into rotation that day.
Now listening to that album I see just how before her time she actually was. Aaliyah was so refreshing when it came out. Maybe it was because she hadn’t put out a full album since 1996, but it still feels new even seven years after its release. It was just something about her. She had beauty, swagger, style, relatability and talent to boot. What is especially tragic is that she was just beginning to take off. Sure the urban audience knew who she was and she was already a super star in our eyes, but with all the big budget movies and the new music she had on deck you could tell she was getting ready to reach a completely new stratosphere. She was a pioneer for all the new R&B chanteuses of our day. Without her there would definitely be no Ciaras, Cassies, Rihannas or the like. Her death affected all us from the fans, her family and the people who worked closely with her. No one can deny that after her passing Timbaland, Missy and the Superfriends crew as a whole all lost a little of their swag. Sometimes I wonder just how big she would have gotten had it not been for her tragic departure. I guess it’s best to just remember as the phenomenal talent that she was in her short lifetime. Rest in peace, Babygirl.
It took not really being happy where I was in life to realize that all I’ve wanted to do for a while now is write That’s it. At this point it’s my plan A, B and C. So earlier this year I decided to go back to school and get my masters in Journalism. I talked to old professors, mentors, family member and friends about my plans and they all thought I should go for it, even those that thought it was pointless when I first started talking grad school. After all, this was my original plan after graduation in 2007.
It’s crazy how I came back to my original starting point. I threw all kind of options around, but here I am right back where I started. Back to the story. So I made of list of five schools that I would apply to. All except for one had long stopped accepting applications for fall 2010. The only one left to apply to was the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. So that’s what I did. I took the GRE and even flew up for an interview. Let me make one thing clear: this was a long shot folks. Northwestern has one of the best J-Schools in the country and I was the underdog in every way in this situation. But I put all that aside and plowed through the application process. I didn’t even have time to really think about what I was doing.
Flash forward to a couple weeks ago. It was right after my 25th birthday when I realized what I had done and that’s when the nervousness began. Actually, nervous doesn’t do what I was feeling justice let’s make that agony. Every time I thought about it my chest would constrict and I was sure I was going to have either a panic attack or a stroke before all was said and done. This week was especially bad, mainly because I was set to find out the decision on or before August 15. I was checking my app status it seemed like every 10 minutes. I just wished they would put me out of my misery so I would know what was next. And last night it all changed.
I was on the phone with a good friend and decided to check the status one more time before bed and low and behold there was a decision available. I decided to swallow my fear and click on it. Guess what, I GOT IN!!! Looks like I’ll be headed to Illinois in January. It’s still a shock to be honest. I didn’t think I was getting in and I was having regrets about telling people about my plans, mostly because I didn’t want to deal with telling them I got rejected. But I did it. I got into one of the best programs in the country. Me. I’m not sure how it happened, but I’m thanking God every step of the way. I just really needed a ‘yes’ in my life. I’d almost gotten used to rejection, but maybe this is what’s meant to be. I’m not sure what’s going to happen next or if this is going to be the beginning of the career of my dreams. I’m just grateful for the opportunity and plan to take full advantage of it. I’ll keep you posted.
- A: he was telling me about the battle of the barbies vs. spanish harlem
- m: say what now?
- A: barbies vs. spanish harlem. the white ladies vs. the strong latinas
- m: i got the spanish harlem part. i thought the barbies were chicks who thought they were nicki minaj...my bad
- A: hahahahahaha. the original barbies