Hankerson told TMZ that the Princess of R&B “always encouraged young women pursuing their musical and entertainment careers, to achieve their dreams.”
“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,” he continued.
Sampling an Aaliyah song is a rare occurrence, as her music is not available on streaming services due to legal issues around her estate.
“We hear you and we see you,” a statement from Aaliyah’s Twitter account reads. “While we share your sentiments and desire to have Aaliyah’s music released, we must acknowledge that these matters are not within our control and, unfortunately, take time. Our inability to share Aaliyah’s music and artistry with the world has been as difficult for us as it has been for all of you. Our priority has always been and will continue to be Aaliyah’s music.
“In the meantime, however, we are working diligently to protect what is in our control — Aaliyah’s brand, legacy, and intellectual property,” the statement continued. “In doing so, we will continue to release unique and exciting projects to keep Aaliyah’s legacy and light shining…Undoubtedly, we understand how frustration can lead to [sic] angry and disappointment. However, we ask all of you for your continued support and love as we aim to achieve these goals for all of you and our babygirl. We appreciate you.”
— Aaliyah (@AaliyahHaughton) January 15, 2021
An attorney for Blackground, a record company founded by Hankerson, confirmed to TMZ, however, that the Aaliyah sample was never officially cleared for use.
Though he gave his support, Hankerson did note that it would have been “more honorable” if Normani sought approval to sample “One in a Million” first.
In addition to Normani receiving Hankerson’s well wishes, she also garnered support from producer and former friend of Aaliyah’s, Timbaland.
— sky 🦋 (@ungodlyreign) July 16, 2021
NORMANI needs to work with him for her album omggggg 🥺 I’m so happy he approves I know baby girl is up there smiling so big right now 🥺❤️
— ً (@BIXBERVISION) July 17, 2021
Timbaland reaction to Normani song pic.twitter.com/IY5eBoZN6s
— Taylor. (@Tater_Tottt) July 18, 2021
As Blavity previously reported, Aaliyah fans recently took to social media to share their love for the “Rock The Boat” singer on the 20th anniversary of her eponymous album, AALIYAH.