On Friday’s episode of the Facebook Watch series, Jada, her mother Adrienne and her daughter Willow discussed the controversial series, which the actress used as a teachable mother-daughter moment.
Jada said everyone is “complicit” in the decades-long abuse because as music fans we ignored all of the allegations made against Kelly. She even pointed to how Kelly’s song, “I Believe I Can Fly,” was used as background music in a video of her husband, Will Smith, skydiving over the Grand Canyon in September 2018.
Willow went on to share how the series opened her eyes to the R&B singer’s relationship with a then-15-year-old Aaliyah.
“What made me start crying was I had listened to Aaliyah and had known about R. Kelly and listened to his music when I was super young,” Willow said. “I had an inkling that he was slightly sus.”
She continued, “It just hit me so hard when I was watching [Surviving R. Kelly] and seeing him in the back of that Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number album cover. Something from my childhood was just debased. Why is he in the back just lurking? That’s weird.”
Van Allen joined the women later in the episode and called Kelly, who she became involved with when she was 17, a “master manipulator.”
She alleged that he was able to manipulate her into having threesomes with other young women including the 14-year-old girl, who allegedly appeared on the tape at the center of Kelly’s 2008 child pornography trial.
“When he first told me he had never had a threesome, I felt like I needed to do that for him because we were together, and I was living with him, and I did it,” Van Allen explained. “And then he wanted another one and another one. That’s when it was like, ‘Uh oh.’”
Hearing about the alleged abuse and discovering that Van Allen was in foster care and also a victim of childhood sexual abuse, Jada teared up listening to her story.
Watch part one of the two-part Red Table Talk dedicated to Van Allen’s story below.
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.