Surviving R. Kelly: An overview

At the start of the year, Surviving R. Kelly debut on Lifetime in the US spanning over 6 episodes in a docu-series. The program covers R. Kelly’s career which has been riddled with ‘rumours’ of abuse, predatory behaviour and paedophillia, as survivors and members of his inner circle come forward with shocking allegations.

Seen by many as the greatest R&B singer of all time, it appears all may not be as it seems. You could argue that these allegations may come as no surprise, after all it only takes a minute to look a just a few of his songs to notice his slight obsession with sex. Bump N Grind and Ignition probably being the most well known.

From watching the docu-series it appears his obsession with young females first came to light within the wider public when he was introduced to his managers daughter, an aspiring singer named Aaliyah, who was only 15 at the time. R. Kelly later went on to marry Aaliyah, who was under age, by getting members of his inner circle to forge papers to prove that she was 18. He then went on to produce her debut album ‘Age Ain’t Nothin’ But A Number’ which considering the situation, definitely has a deeper meaning.

Marrying an underage girl was only the tip of the iceberg for the reports of predatory behaviour on young girls. R. Kelly was often found loitering outside a high school, in McDonalds or shopping centres in the hope of befriending aspiring singers, who he later exploits. His former members of staff also report in the docu-series how his studio has a purpose built bedroom, where often young girls would be waiting for him.

Unfortunately that is not the worst of it. Throughout the series there are accounts from various survivors explaining how he brainwashed them, manipulated them and kept them hostage. If they misbehaved they would go days without being given any food, have their phones confiscated or get beaten. He would often have numerous girls in his house at one time, although they never saw one another and were kept separated. The young girls had to ask permission to do daily tasks, such as go to the shop and use the bathroom, as he kept tabs on where they were 24/7.

Alongside all the emotional, and physical abuse R. Kelly filmed numerous sexual acts with the girls, sometimes with 2 girls at once. One survivor explained the moment she was made to take part in sexual acts between R. Kelly and another girl, who she later found out was under age. The girl had been been ‘trained’ by R. Kelly and told to call him ‘Daddy’.

The series later explains how a tape with R. Kelly and this young girl got leaked and R. Kelly was due in court. However when the court date came around the girl and her family were nowhere to be seen with reports that R. Kelly payed them off. R. Kelly later went on to deny that it was him in the footage, trying to shift it onto his brother. It was from that point that his brother no-longer has anything to do with him.

These cases are only a few of the many accounts given throughout Surviving R. Kelly, with two girls reportedly still in hostage with him at the moment. Since the docu-series has aired, numerous celebrities have spoken out against the predator, as well as Spotify pulling his music from all of their playlists. For me, I can never listen to his music in the same way again. And will never willingly choose to hear his music again either. How he has got away with his predatory behaviour this long simply blows my mind, not to mention all of the people who let this happen, and are still letting this happen.

I can’t wait for the day justice is served.

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