Let me start off by saying in no way am I claiming that every parent is to blame. There are a myriad of reasons why and how these girls and women ended up at the hands of R. Kelly. This article addresses one reason: the parents.
If you haven’t read the latest article regarding R. Kelly, you can find it here. It’s been trending on Twitter all day with most not at all shocked over his actions. Neither am I. After spending two weeks covering the Bill Cosby Trial, I peeped his game; Kelly, just like Cosby, discovered how to subvert the law to satisfy his appetite for teenage girls. What he’s doing isn’t exactly criminal; the girls are of age and they claim to be in love and willing participants. They are, however, being emotionally, verbally and, according to the article, physically abused. And the level of control instituted by Kelly should be criminal, but it’s not. And we’ll probably never know the extent of his abuse because each of the girls has signed NDAs. So R. Kelly has won. And it’s thanks to parents like the ones in the article that he’s managed to do so.
“J” and Tim
The parents moved from Memphis to Atlanta to help further their daughter’s career. The mom and daughter happened to meet Kelly backstage and got him to listen to her CD. The three sat for two hours discussing her music and potential career. In the article, J admitted to being a fan and that working with him would be a “major leap forward” from record demos and talent show performances. Later, he invited the teenager to fly out to one of his concerts and the mother admitted to not being worried. Although she grew up and grooved to Aaliyah’s Age Ain’t Nothin’ But A Number, “it didn’t really hit home. She considered herself a fiercely protective stage mom and believed that she be able to prevent from being alone with her daughter.
I’m unaware of any parent who can control such a situation. If a child wants something, they will plan, plot and lie to make it happen. And that’s just what she did. Their daughter told them she was visiting a Georgia University for the weekend. Instead, she boarded a plane to see R. Kelly at an Oklahoma concert. Apparently, the mother was unaware they were in communication. When she returned home, she told her parents and friends they had sex. The girl continued to communicate with Kelly and flew out to visit him when requested. He eventually gave her a new cell phone with the instructions to only contact him. She needed his permission to contact anyone else – her parents included. This mom has full control, right?
By now, this girl has skipped so many classes, she’s no longer in good standing at her college. Her parents never hear from her and in their distress, file a missing person’s report with the campus police. Technically, because their daughter is an adult, she can not be considered missing; but the parents follow up with Georgia police. The officers perform a well-being check at Kelly’s Georgia residence but the house was empty. A well-being check by Chicago authorities revealed that their daughter was indeed fine. She told cops that she didn’t want to be bothered by her parents because her father was threatening people; she’d rather stay in contact with her grandmother. Dance with the devil and you’ll get burned.
Theresa and Angelo
Theresa’s daughter met Kelly when she was 17. At a concert with her mom, Kelly and his entourage pulled her and other young looking girls out of the audience and her daughter was given his number. As in the example above, the daughter and Kelly communicated secretly via phone and text. The parents realized their daughter was in communication with Kelly when she failed to arrive home from school. When they learned she was at R. Kelly’s hotel, they called the police and hotel security. Once they arrived at the hotel, their daughter finally came down but Kelly refused to speak with them. It was then that the parents decided that she was to speak with Kelly only when one of them was around. Really?
AFTER this incident, Kelly gave their daughter the opportunity to travel with him to learn about the music business. For whatever reason, they acquiesced and believed their daughter would be safe with a female guardian around. But the girl eventually moved into one of his residences and communication with her parents went from brief to nonexistent. Months later when her older sister got news that she was in a nearby studio with Kelly, she went to visit and hopefully, rescue her. Instead, she was met with Kelly’s staff, one of whom allegedly hit her in the face.
Theresa and Angelo lost their daughter to Kelly because the mom thought Kelly was a lyrical genius. She didn’t live under a rock; she was aware of the child sexual abuse charges but because he was acquitted, she let her guard down. She trusted Kelly with her daughter because she had never been in the music industry.
In hindsight, these seem to be weak excuses to allow R. Kelly access to their daughters. The ultimate reasons being fast tracking their singing careers and the opportunity to work with an r&b icon. As a parent to a daughter, I empathize. You want to see your children succeed and achieve their dream. But the word parent isn’t just a noun; it’s a verb. It means “to be or act as a mother or father to someone” and its synonyms are to raise, to look after, to take care of. If those parents chose to look after their children instead of assuring their singing career, they could have avoided contact with Kelly. All they had to do was Google Kelly’s name to learn that despite his acquittal, he’s paid millions in out of court settlements for sexual misconduct. You don’t have to live in Chicago to hear rumors of him cruising McDonald’s for teenage girls. And you don’t have to be a sexual abuse survivor to heed the warning signs found in his lyrics or quotes in countless articles.
You just have to be a parent who parents.
As they fight to get their girls back, I don’t see how it’s possible. Admittedly, I’m no lawyer but these girls are of age now and according to them, willing participants. The law says willing adults can participate in any type of relationship they choose. And watching the video of J’s daughter, I just don’t see her coming home no time soon. But, if you look closely, you do see the shadow of someone moving as if to say “cut it.” Is it R. Kelly? Probably.
The parents have now chosen to do something and according to this video, are working with local police and the FBI. It may be too little, too late though.