Aaliyah’s uncle says it would’ve been ‘more honorable’ if Normani got approval for alleged sample

Fans are both offering their support to Normani and screaming for Barry Hankerson to release Aaliyah's classic music.

Loading the player...

Barry Hankerson, the uncle of Aaliyah and president of Blackground Records, the late singer’s label, said he was pleased with Normani’s single, “Wild Side,” which sounds similar to an Aaliyah favorite. 

In an interview with TMZ, Hankerson said he would not stand in the way of the sexy, new Normani track, which features rapstress Cardi B. He said his niece “always encouraged young women pursuing their musical and entertainment careers, to achieve their dreams.”

Normani and Aaliyah, theGrio.com
Normani and Aaliyah (Photo: Getty Images/YouTube)

Hankerson did make a jab that it would have been “more honorable” had Normani sought the family’s approval to sample “One in a Million.” Instead, her team insists they didn’t directly lift Aaliyah’s hit 1996 song penned by Missy Elliott and Timberland. Still, “Wild Side” sounds eerily similar, and even its video has obvious inspiration from the late singer’s classic. 

Blackground Records confirmed to TMZ that no sample of “One in a Million” was ever cleared for use on “Wild Side.”

Timbaland, who produced the former, posted an Instagram Story singing along to the latter, showing his support. 

The breakout Normani single is on the cusp of breaking into the top 10 on Apple Music’s US Top 100. It is also number one in music on YouTube, with a heavily choreographed video that also features Cardi.  

Hankerson — who has never released any of Aaliyah’s music to streaming platforms — said, “I will not stand in the way of something that brings to light the incredible staying power of Aaliyah. So in that light, wishing Normani well with the song and overall career. God bless. I think Aaliyah would be pleased.”

Fans on social media are both offering their support to Normani and screaming for the release of Aaliyah’s recorded artistry by her uncle.

One wrote: “One In A Million is a timeless record. It will stand the test of time. Aaliyah forever changed the R&B with this one. Everyone tell Normani thank you for reminding y’all who Babygirl is.” 

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s “Dear Culture” podcast? Download our newest episodes now!

TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku. Download theGrio.com today!

Loading the player...