Aaliyah was honored at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards by Janet Jackson, Missy Elliott, Timbaland, Ginuwine and her brother, Rashad, who all paid tribute to her. In the same year, the United States Social Security Administration ranked the name Aaliyah one of the 100 most popular names for newborn girls. Aaliyah was ranked as one of "The Top 40 Women of the Video Era" in VH1's 2003 The Greatest series. She was also ranked at number 18 on BET's "Top 25 Dancers of All Time". Aaliyah appeared on both 2000 and 2001 list of MaximHot 100 in position 41 and the latter at 14. In memory of Aaliyah, the Entertainment Industry Foundation created the Aaliyah Memorial Fund to donate money raised to charities she supported. In December 2009, Billboard magazine ranked Aaliyah at number 70 on its Top Artists of the Decade, while her eponymous album was ranked at number 181 on the magazine's Top 200 Albums of the Decade. She is listed by Billboard as the tenth most successful female R&B artist of the past 25 years, and 27th most successful R&B artist overall.In 2012, VH1 ranked her number 48 in "VH1's Greatest Women in Music".
Aaliyah's work has influenced numerous artists including Adele, Ciara, Beyoncé Knowles, Monica, Chris Brown, Rihanna, Azealia Banks, Sevyn Streeter, Keyshia Cole, J. Cole, Kelly Rowland, Zendaya, Rita Ora, The xx, Omarion, Canadian R&B singer Keshia Chanté who was said to play as her in her pending biopic back in 2008, complimented the singer's futuristic style in music and fashion. Keshia Chanté backed out of the biopic after speaking to Diane Haughton, but has expressed a willingness to do the project if "the right production comes along and the family's behind it". Keisha also mentioned that Aaliyah had been part of her life "since I was 6." R&B singer and friend Brandy said about the late singer "She came out before Monica and I did, she was our inspiration. At the time, record companies did not believe in kid acts and it was just inspiring to see someone that was winning and winning being themselves. When I met her I embraced her, I was so happy to meet her." Rapper Drake said that the singer has had the biggest influence on his career. He also has a tattoo of the singer behind his back. Solange Knowles remarked on the tenth anniversary of her death that she idolized Aaliyah and proclaimed that she would never be forgotten.
In 2012, British singer-songwriter Katy B released the song Aaliyah as a tribute to Aaliyah's legacy and lasting impression on R&B music. The song first appeared on Katy B's Danger EP and featured Jessie Ware on guest vocals.
There has been continuing belief that Aaliyah would have achieved greater career success had it not been for her death. Emil Wilbekin mentioned the deaths of The Notorious B.I.G andTupac Shakur in conjunction with hers and added: "Her just-released third album and scheduled role in a sequel to The Matrix could have made her another Janet Jackson or Whitney Houston". Director of Queen of the Damned Michael Rymer said of Aaliyah, "God, that girl could have gone so far" and spoke of her having "such a clarity about what she wanted. Nothing was gonna step in her way. No ego, no nervousness, no manipulation. There was nothing to stop her."
On July 18, 2014, it was announced that Alexandra Shipp replaced Zendaya for the role of Aaliyah for the Lifetime TV biopic movie Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B, which premiered on November 15, 2014. Zendaya drew criticism because she is biracial while Aaliyah was African-American. She referred to Aaliyah as "one of her biggest inspirations" and insisted that while she could not "please everybody", she could "work really hard and just continue to show [Aaliyah's] legacy. That's all I'm focused on is really, really portraying her in the best light possible. That's all it's about." She explained her decision to drop out of the film in three videos she posted on Instagram. "The reason why I chose not to do the Aaliyah movie had nothing to do with the haters or people telling me that I couldn't do it, I wasn't talented enough, or I wasn't black enough. It had absolutely nothing to do with that." Aaliyah's family has been vocal in their disapproving of the film. Her cousin Jomo Hankerson stated the family would prefer a "major studio release along the lines" of What's Love Got to Do with It, the biopic loosely based on the life of Tina Turner. Aaliyah's family has consulted a lawyer to stop Lifetime from using "any of the music, or any of the photographs and videos" they own and Jomo Hankerson claimed the TV network "didn't reach out." On August 9, 2014, it was announced that Chattrisse Dolabaille and Izaak Smith had been cast as Aaliyah's collaborators Missy Elliott and Timbaland. Dolabaille received criticism for her appearance in comparison with that of Missy Elliot. The Urban Daily wrote: "The hushed frustrations around the industry are mainly pertaining to the fact that the actress is nothing like Missy Elliott. She is much lighter, she is much smaller and she doesn't seem to have any Hip Hop or R&B background. Some feel that the biopic creators didn't look hard enough for someone more appropriate to play Missy."
A feature film, scheduled for release in theaters in 2015, was reported in August 2014 to star B. Simone and have involvement from Aaliyah's uncle Barry Hankerson. The film is stated to feature unreleased music by the late singer.