Every time you make the choice to talk about Chris Brown it's important to recognize that you just took a moment to give that man more publicity than he already requires. Unfortunately, outside of Brown's obvious questionable (at best) personal choices are his musical ones, the most recent of which just has to be mentioned because it is so egregious. He's a. sampled an unreleased Aaliyah track in his newest song and b. used her beautiful visage in the video.
In the video for "Don't Think They Know" Aaliyah appears periodically in what is being described by many as a "hologram" dancing behind Brown. The whole thing is shot primarily in black and white, with some highlights of red and then blue – a Bloods and the Crips reference – and eventually more and more color blots drop onto the shirts of the youth of tomorrow. The whole thing is about gun violence, you see, as the title card explains:
"Every two hours in america a child dies of a gunshot wound."
The video's dedicated to Brown's friend, the rapper Lil' Frogg who died in March after being shot. Also:
Conspiracy theorists will take the song to be a direct attack on the artist currently known as Drake, formerly known as Jimmy Brooks from Degrassi, as Drake's also releasing his own Aaliyah stuff. Brown has some serious issues with Drake (and vice versa), mainly over their shared love of the same woman, Rihanna. In case you're wracking your brain trying to come up with connections between Aaliyah and Brown, there appear to be none. He is claiming via Twitter, however, that the lyrics from the song "encourages all races, genders, sexes, (everyone) gay or straight to love each other!", a switch from his previous tweets that made free use of gay slurs.
It's unclear how the woman who married noted sexual predator R. Kelly at the age of 15 and who died in a plane accident would really posthumously appreciate this loving tribute to her legacy; preventing gun violence/working on tolerance are good causes, but not ones she ever had much time to get involved in during her short lifetime. The same can probably be said for Timbaland and Missy Elliott, the two people who actually worked with her on all of her music and have been skeptical of people like Drake profiting off of it, despite his respect and love of her music.
If you'd like to hear a more fitting way to remember Aaliyah, listen to "Aaliyah" by Katy B featuring Jessie Ware. Whether this song is actually about the late artist is unclear, but with lyrics like "Aaliyah, please don't take my man/Although you know that you can/I've never a met a boy so true/But there's this something that you do" I like to imagine Katy B and Jessie Ware are so worried about how badass Aaliyah is that they fear her coming back from the dead and stealing their boyfriends: