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5 Things We Learned From Lifetime's 'Surviving R. Kelly' Part 1

r. kelly

In their own words…
On Thursday, Lifetime debuted their highly-anticipated six-part documentary series, Surviving R. Kelly, where more than 50 interviewees revealed new allegations of sexual, mental, and physical abuse by the singer.
Related: Stars Declined To Be Interviewed For R. Kelly Docu-Series!
Among those featured include the musician’s ex-wife, Andrea Lee, his ex-girlfriend, Kitti Jones, his brothers, Carey and Bruce Kelly, his former protege, Stephanie “Sparkle” EdwardsJohn Legend, and #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, who spearheaded the #MuteRKelly campaign which called on businesses and venues to sever ties with the 51-year-old artist.
From discussing his alleged sex cult, to his controversial career, the TV special was both disturbing and eye-opening.
The songwriter — born Robert Kelly — has denied accusations of misconduct, and was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008.
Here are five things we learned from part one:

Kelly’s Brother Claims They Were Both Molested As Kids

The singer has claimed multiple times that he was molested by an older female relative as a child; first in his 2012 autobiography, Soulacoster, and several times since then over the years. Kelly’s younger brother Carey alleged that he suffered similar abuse in last night’s episode, telling cameras:

“If he’s saying [he was abused], I don’t think he’s lying. Because it happened to me. It happened to me. … I was molested by a family member, and it shook my world, because I didn’t understand it. I knew it wasn’t right, even though I was 6 years old at the time.”

Carey remembered confiding in Kelly about the incident shortly after it happened, and being shocked by his brother’s dismissive reaction. He said:

“Robert, him being my big brother, I brought that to him and told him what happened to me. And when I told him, he didn’t really respond to it like I felt he should. When I told him, he said, ‘No, that didn’t happen.’ And I said, ‘Yes it did.’ And Robert said, ‘No it didn’t.’ And I left it alone. I really didn’t want to take it to my mom, because my brother was the test. And if he believed me, maybe I could’ve taken it to an adult.”

Kelly Allegedly Had Sex With An Underage Girl In The Recording Booth While Everyone Watched

Jovante Cunningham is one of the few female interviewees who worked with Kelly while she was underage but claims he never sexually coerced her.
Still, Kelly’s former backup singer witnessed many harrowing acts during her time with the controversial performer — like the time she claims the singer started having sex with one of her teenage friends in the recording studio. She remembered:

“The first time I witnessed a sexual act in the studio was during the recording of (Kelly’s song) ‘Slow Dance (Remix).’ He had one of my teenage friends in the booth with him, bent over. We were all right there. I will not say with whom, but I knew she was underage.”

Aaliyah Was Apparently ‘Worried’ & ‘Scared’ During Her Alleged Wedding To Kelly

The musician’s former tour manager and personal assistant Demetrius Smith shared unsettling details about Kelly’s wedding to late singer Aaliyah, which reportedly took place on August 31, 1994 using a falsified Cook County marriage license that listed her age as 18 — when, in reality, she was just 15 at the time.
Looking back on the day they reportedly tied the knot, Smith recalled:

“I’m not proud of that [day]. I had papers forged for them. Aaliyah was underage. We got the marriage license, we were at a hotel in Maywood, Illinois. It was just a quick little ceremony, nothing elaborate. Aaliyah didn’t have a white dress, Robert didn’t have on a tux, just everyday wear. Robert said ‘I do.’ Him and Aaliyah.”

Remembering how “scared” the underage bride appeared, Smith continued:

“Aaliyah looked worried, scared. She was worried and scared. I wanted so much to grab Aaliyah and talk to her. She gave me a look like she wanted me to talk to her. … I knew that it had changed the course of everything.”

Their marriage was reportedly annulled shortly after. Kelly has insisted that their wedding never happened.

Kelly’s Song You Are Not Alone Might Be About A Teen Girl He Allegedly Knocked Up

Lizzette Martinez is one of the many women who claims that Kelly sexually propositioned her when she was underage. After the two began a sexual relationship, Martinez claims she became pregnant with the singer’s child when she was a senior in high school, and, shortly after she found out, suffered a miscarriage.
Martinez claims Kelly later told her that she inspired him to write the ballad You Are Not Alone, which became a hit song recorded by Michael Jackson in 1995. She said:

“He just said he had something really special he had been working on. When he wrote it, he was thinking of me. So when he played it, he called the song ‘You Are Not Alone.'”

Kelly Apparently Ambushed His Now Ex-Wife With A Surprise Wedding Ceremony

Andrea Lee was one of Kelly’s backup dancers before she married him in 1996 when she was 22, and went on to endure allegedly abusive and controlling behavior from the singer.
One story that perfectly illustrates this was their wedding day — a surprise ceremony that Kelly threw for Lee, without her having any idea they were about to get hitched. She remembered:

“My wedding was a surprise wedding. I did not know I was getting married. We went to Colorado and I remember going into a hotel room and there was a violinist, there was a cello player, he had the cake, he had the food, he had everything. He went over the top… And it was like, ‘Robert, what if I wanted to do it in a church? What if I wanted to wear a wedding dress?’ I don’t think he even understood crossing that line from being generous to controlling.”

The former couple have three children together. Lee filed a restraining order against the singer in 2005 after he allegedly assaulted her when she asked for a divorce. Their split was finalized in 2009.
What was your biggest takeaway from Part one of Surviving R. Kelly?
[Image via JLN Photography/WENN.]

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Jan 04, 2019 07:59am PDT