R. Kelly

Oh dear … watched all six episodes of #SurvivingRKelly and feel a bit sick. In the 90s when I presented #ChoiceFM Breakfast R.Kelly was a regular on the playlist and boy did we love his tunes.

I was known as “The Lady with The Vibe” purely because of the track “She’s Got That Vibe”, and didn’t we all love “Honey Love”, “Ignition”, “Happy People”, “Step In The Name of Love” and I could go on.

I now hear these tunes with a different ear.

And this story… oh this horrible awful story… being told by these brave women is so heinous and vile that most of us just don’t want to look.

But we have to look. We HAVE to address this. As parents to young girls, as women, as men, as human beings… we have to look at the signs and the clues when this happens. We can no longer continue to turn a blind eye to predators “just because” we like their music.

And then there are questions out there about race. If this would have happened to Caucasian girls, would it have been caught sooner? Why did it take a specific documentary series to get people to understand? Girls and the parents of these girls have been speaking out for YEARS… yet no one did anything.

In #SurvivingRKelly, more than 50 people are interviewed, including #MeToo movement founder Tarana Burke, musicians John Legend and Sparkle, talk-show host Wendy Williams, and radio legend Tom Joyner. Two Sun-Times journalists, Kathy Chaney and Mary Mitchell, are included in the series, along with Abdon Pallasch, a former Sun-Times reporter.

But many artists knew about R. Kelly and chose not to participate. Chance the Rapper even used Kelly’s horrible nickname “The Pied Piper” to introduce him onstage. Chance declined to participate in the documentary.

Dream Hampton, executive producer of Surviving R. Kelly, had asked multiple musicians to participate in the Lifetime documentary and all but John Legend declined.

Even Lady Gaga, who did a song and video with him, has apologised and explained why she did it. She states that she supports the survivors and was in a dark place when she did the song and subsequent video with him.

There is so much backlash and so much pain. There are protests and now police investigations. It’s even being reported that he is going to leave the country to avoid prosecution.

Yes people KNEW. People in the entertainment industry knew about him and his reputation. Matthew Knowles admitted he kept his daughters and Destiny’s Child away from him for that reason. As told in The Independent

Beyonce‘s father and former Destiny’s Child manager Mathew Knowles has claimed he actively kept the chart-topping R&B group away from R Kelly after hearing “some of those things” about the controversial singer. 

On Aaliyah…

I just can’t stop thinking about her. I look at my own daughters and where they were at 14 and 15 and I cringe. They were babies. They may have looked older than their years but they were just children wanting to be grown.

Aaliyah was introduced to Kelly by her uncle, who was also Kelly’s manager at the time. By. Her. Uncle. Family. The people that are supposed to keep you safe.

She recorded her first album, Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number, in 1994, at 14 years old, with Kelly, then 27, as her primary songwriter. Vibe published a marriage certificate between the two filed in 1995, in Rosemont, Illinois, on which Aaliyah’s age had been falsified as 18. 

In documents obtained for a 2000 newspaper article in the Chicago Sun-Times, Aaliyah and her family got an annulment of the marriage from a Michigan judge. The family was also able to expunge all records of the marriage in 1997, because Aaliyah was too young to be married without her parents’ permission under Illinois law. 

Aaliyah’s boyfriend in 2001, at the time of her death, Damon Dash, is now sharing some details and thoughts on her disturbing relationship with R. Kelly, when she was underage, after the release of the new Lifetime docuseries, Surviving R. Kelly.

Dash told Entertainment Tonight:

The co-founder of Roc-A-Fella Records went on to admit that Aaliyah’s trauma following her relationship with Kelly was why he would have nothing to do with JAY-Z’s records with the R&B singer.

“You know, I watched John Legend be fearless about his opinion of it, regardless of, politically, how it may seem but I’ve been tight about this s**t for years,” he said. “If you remember [JAY and Kelly’s 2002 album] The Best of Both Worlds, you don’t see my name on that… I never wanted no parts of that.”

“So my homes [JAY] was doing that s**t. I was like ‘Bro, you know homie violated and he violated my girl. He violated a friend of yours,’” he added. “So, you know, when he moved forward I was like… ‘Yo, I don’t want no parts of that. Put my part to Aaliyah’s breast cancer thing.’”

Entertainment Tonight

Though he has never been convicted of sexual misconduct, stories about Kelly’s relationships with young women have been circulating for YEARS, most of it exposed by reporter Jim DeRogatis, who also wrote a BuzzFeed story  about the families of two young women who believe they are being abused in a cultlike relationship with R. Kelly.

And just last week R. Kelly’s estranged daughter spoke out…

It’s all so much and I have so many questions. Why did it take so long for people to listen? Why did it take a documentary to believe our baby sisters? Why do we have such a hard time protecting our children?  

Did you see any of it? What are your thoughts? Let’s chat about this on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.