R. Kelly may have beat allegations of having sex with minors, but we all can agree that he hasn’t quite been able to put the past behind him.
Now, it appears that the “Fiesta” musician is being accused of another set of sexual misconducts that could further taint his legacy. According to Buzzfeed News, three sets of parents have accused Kelly of holding their daughters in an abusive “cult.”
The media outlet spoke with a woman by the name of J., who claims R. Kelly took interest in her 19-year-old daughter and promised to assist her in developing her music career.
“When we got to go backstage with R. Kelly, we stayed there over two hours,” said J. “One-on-one with just me and my daughter and him. We went back to talk about the music. He listened to her CD. He was going to help her with her CD, and I was really impressed with him at first, because I have always been an R. Kelly fan.”
According to J., Kelly, who turned 50 in January, met her daughter backstage at a concert in Atlanta in May 2015. He invited her to fly out to the Indio concert, and while J. admits to having heard about past allegations of sexual misconduct against the Grammy award-winning musician, she wasn’t particularly worried.
“In the back of our minds, we were thinking [my daughter] could be around him if I was with her,” J. said. “It didn’t really hit home. Even with the Aaliyah situation, now that I think about it, ‘Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number’ … but you don’t think about that. You grew up with the song, and you like the song.”
Fast forward two years and J. and her husband Tim say they have not seen their daughter in more than seven months. She soon moved in with R. Kelly, and her parents claim he took her phone, replacing it with one that he regulates use of. Her parents believe their daughter has been “brainwashed” by the singer, and is living in one of his rented properties.
Buzzfeed News also spoke with three former members of the singer’s “inner circle.” Cheryl Mack, Kitti Jones and Asante McGee provided the media outlet with details that mirrored the parent’s fears. According to the former members, six women live in properties rented by R. Kelly in Chicago and the suburbs of Atlanta. They say he controls every aspect of their lives: dictating what they eat, how they dress, when they bathe, when they sleep and how they engage in sexual encounters that he records.
When reflecting on the last time she saw her daughter, J. had this to say.
“It was as if she was brainwashed. [She] looked like a prisoner — it was horrible,” she said. “I hugged her and hugged her. But she just kept saying she’s in love and [Kelly] is the one who cares for her. I don’t know what to do. I hope that if I get her back, I can get her treatment for victims of cults. They can reprogram her. But I wish I could have stopped it from happening.”
J. and Tim say they informed police of what was going on, even contacting the FBI in two states. Unfortunately, since their daughter (whose name is being withheld to protect her privacy) isn’t a missing person, law enforcement officials view her living arrangement as voluntary.
The couple says they’ve only heard from their daughter twice since seeing her in December of last year. They received a text on Christmas that simply said, “I hate Christmas has to be this way this year.”
The second text was received by J. on Mother’s Day: “Happy Mother’s Day from me and Rob.”
According to J., her daughter began secretly talking to Kelly on her cell phone after her backstage visit with Kelly in Indio.
“As far as I know, we weren’t talking to [Kelly] anymore,” J. said. “Or at least I wasn’t talking to him anymore.”
J. and Tim say they caught their daughter up in a lie when she told them she would be visiting a Georgia university for the weekend. Instead, Mack arranged for her to fly to Oklahoma City, where R. Kelly was performing, they said.
Buzzfeed News was given a copy of a recording, where they say Kelly can be heard dismissing the woman’s attempts to discuss her music career with him.
“I miss my baby,” Kelly reportedly told the woman, before asking her what she was wearing. After she replied, he told her: “I want you to get in the habit of telling me what color panties you got on every day,” he instructed repeatedly.
When the woman attempted to direct the conversation to the song she was working on, R. Kelly appears to be less engaged on the tapes.
“I’m more interested in developing you. Songs are not an issue. We can always do a hit song.”
Despite quitting school and limiting contact with her family, J. says her daughter maintains that she is “happy” with R. Kelly.
“It’s not about my daughter, per se. It’s about all the girls,” Tim said. “It’s about my daughter, and I understand that. But the abuse that my daughter is actually enduring, nobody should go through.”