Lifetime’s new documentary Surviving R. Kelly has everyone talking around the world about the man who we know better as the king of R & B, R. Kelly. Eight women who escaped his world and/or tried to help loved ones they say were trapped share their stories, alleging sexual and physical abuse by the 51-year old star. Kelly isn’t currently facing any criminal charges, but he has reportedly settled several civil lawsuits with women. The documentary aired Jan. 3 – 5th on Lifetime and Dream Hampton, executive producer, wants Kelly to be held accountable. “This is a deeply painful story about a predator,” she says. “We have brave women who came forward. The public deserved to have the full story.”
Many women spoke out about the horrific experiences they encountered with R & B singer, Robert Kelly. Most of them were teenagers when they had their first experience with him. He would sometimes use success as bait to interest the young women and shortly thereafter become very controlling and abusive.
Many of the girls were 16 and 17 but he even mentally and sexually tortured some girls as young as 14. He wanted young girls to listen to him as if he was Daddy. He would smack them and whoop them and tell them exactly what they could and could not do. Many of them would listen because they had been brainwashed into believing they were in love with him.
Kelly’s ex-wife talks about her experience starting at 19, when she was a dancer. She says when they were on tour dancers weren’t allowed to talk to each other nor allowed to mingle with any other artists on tour. But they didn’t think of it as control in the beginning. Since he would share bits and pieces about how he came up in an abusive household where domestic violence was present, many of the girls, like his ex-wife felt compassion. They felt like they could relate and also felt sympathy.
Because of his story, many of the young girls put up with more than they should have. But this wasn’t a good thing, nor was it easy. He was often times angry. They walked on eggshells since he had no remorse when slapping and grabbing them. This type of treatment made women want to kill themselves, like his wife right before leaving him. She was ready to jump off a balcony.
The documentary is doing numbers across the nation. It’s an incredible series. The stories are very touching. I personally think it’s sad to know how a great man, in the eyes of the world could be so cruel. But I also know that it’s not far fetched.
This series is powerful. The women who have spoken out are healing through their stories and were so glad to know that the other women were ready to speak out. Because of stories like this many women across the globe can relate and begin to seek help where it’s needed.
This type of abuse isn’t rare at all. Many young women experience this type of behavior when dealing with men, older men especially. My hopes are that more women begin to tell their story, not just about R. Kelly, but about family member that remind them of Kelly or old boyfriends. I hope that through this documentary many women who identify with these women will gain the strength to leave if their situation is toxic, like these women.
We need more discussions about this because this doesn’t just happen on a celebrity scale, domestic violence is happening every single day. I believe conversation is the first step to the healing process. Once we begin to hear more stories like this, as a community, we can figure ways to bring awareness and find ways to take preventative action.
Thank you Lifetime for such a touching story.