Abi, born Joann Kelly, is a singer and the eldest daughter of R. Kelly and his ex-wife, choreographer Andrea. In a lengthy and thoughtful statement posted to her Instagram stories, she condemned her father and explained her previous silence.
Her statement comes one week after the premiere of Surviving R. Kelly, a docuseries that features women detailing alleged sexual and physical abuse inflicted by R. Kelly, including her mother.
“To the people that feel I should be speaking up/against everything that is going on right now. I just want you all to understand that devastated is an understatement for all that I feel currently,” Abi wrote. “I do apologize if my silence to all that is happening comes off as careless.”
She continued, “That is my last intention. I pray for all the families & women who have been affected by my father’s actions. Trust, I have been deeply affected by all of this.”
The singer revealed that she had not had a relationship with her father in years.
“Anyone that knows me personally or has been following me throughout the years knows that I do not have a relationship with my father,” Abi said. “Nor do I speak on him or on his behalf. I also am not fond of dealing with my personal issues or personal life through social media but, I feel things are starting to get out of hand.”
The woman also denounced the harsh criticism and personal attacks on her family regarding her father’s wrongdoings.
“Reminders of how terrible my father is, and how we should be speaking up against him, rude comments about my family, fabricating me, my siblings & our mothers ‘part’ etc. Does not help my family (Me, my sister, my brother, and my mother) in our healing process. Nor does it allow a safe space for other victims who are scared to speak up, speak up.”
“The same monster you all confronting me about is my father. I am well aware of who and what he is. I grew up in that house,” she continued.
Abi has remained silent for her own “peace of mind” and “healing.” She addressed the emotional weight by saying the statement took her three days to write.
“I have to do & move in a manner that is best for me. I pray anyone who reads this understands I put nothing but good intent behind each word,” Abi said. “I just want everyone to know that I do care and I love you all.”
“This past year for my family has been very difficult, all the love and support you all continue to show is why we keep going. You all fuel us,” she said in conclusion. “Family, friends, followers, fans, etc… I love you guys to pieces. Your love is appreciated & always will be.”
R. Kelly is being investigated in Chicago and Atlanta for the allegations highlighted in the docuseries. In addition, new allegations have been reported since the series aired.
Read Abi’s statement below.
What's Your Reaction?
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.