R. Kelly Arrives In Court For Child Pornography Charges
Scott Olson/Getty Images

‘Surviving R. Kelly' Part 3: Supporters Fail Black Girls In Sex Tape Scandal

The Lifetime documentary series details how Kelly’s methods to conceal his alleged misconduct progressed as he grew more famous. 

Readers note: This recap may be triggering to those who have experienced sexual assault.

By 2000, R. Kelly allegedly continued to seek sexual relationships with teenagers. Meanwhile, his tactics to conceal his actions evolved. In December 2000, Chicago Sun-Times journalists Jim Rogartis and Abdon Pallasch reported on several lawsuits filed against Kelly by families of young girls who accused the singer of sexual misconduct. The singer issued settlements with the families and had them sign non-disclosure agreements. Buying silence was not an issue for the singer. By November 2000, Kelly had released four commercially successful solo albums, including his 2000 opus TP-2.com.

With success, Kelly leveraged control of everyone around him, those in his circles claim. This meant paying employees to be complicit in recruiting more girls. The music industry turned a blind eye because Kelly's music was lucrative. He could afford to hide his actions from his wife and children. His fanbase was loyal to Kelly’s pockets, even after a sex tape, allegedly showed him performing sex acts with an underage girl. His supporters put the genius of his music before the lives of innocent girls at this moment, cultural critics said in part three of the Surviving R. Kelly documentary.

Lisa Van Allen, who met the singer when she was 17, described the origins of the infamous tape. Kelly often filmed sexual acts with Van Allen and other girls, without their permission. One of those girls was singer Sparkle's 14-year-old niece. One day, Kelly allegedly left a bag of his videotapes in a room with Van Allen. While going through the footage, Van Allen saw herself on one of tape. When she fast-forwarded the tape, she said she saw footage of Kelly having sex with Sparkle's niece. On the tape, he urinated on the girl. “I thought it was gross, weird and belittling,” Van Allen expressed.

Demetrius Smith, Kelly’s former tour manager, said Robert recorded his sex acts and would then watch the tapes.

According to clinical psychologist, Dr. Candice Norcott abusers may want trophies, such as a tape, from their criminal acts. "It’s a power play," said Norcott. "You get to actively replay the act and when that’s not enough, you make another tape.”

Van Allen took the tape because she was afraid it would get out. While it was in her possession she asked another artist in Kelly’s camp to hold it. Van Allen later found out that there were copies of the tape made. She told Kelly in hopes that he could stop the tapes from circulating. But it was too late.

An anonymous person dropped off a copy of the tape in Jim Rogartis’ mailbox in 2002. The Chicago Sun-Times contacted Sparkle to confirm the identity of the girl on the footage. “On the tape, my niece had the same hairstyle she had when she turned 14,” Sparkle said. “That was her. For sure. And that was him definitely.” Kelly later denied. In the May 2002 issue of Vibe, Lola Ogunnaike wrote regarding the tape, “Unless R. Kelly has an identical twin from whom he was separated at birth, there’s no doubt that the man featured on the raunchy kid-vid is none other than Mr. 'Bump N’ Grind.'”

The Chicago-Sun Times later notified the police about the tape.

In the months to follow, Sparkle's family estranged her. The singer gave up her career to defend her niece, who some passed off as a “fast girl.”

“Once I came out publicly, yeah there was a lot of blowback,” Sparkle said. “People were unbelieving."

In the meantime, the tape was bootlegged and sold all over the South Side of Chicago and uploaded to pornography sites. Although this was a case of a man — whether it be Kelly or not — sexually abusing a child on the tape, there was no widely felt outrage against the sexual misconduct shown. Instead, the moment became a spectacle and was minimized to a dirty little joke tied to Kelly.

“When someone like R. Kelly gets in trouble," said writer Jamilah Lemieux, "there's this knee-jerk instinct to protect him from the system, from the hands of the law, from all these forces that are at play to make sure that black people, black men, in particular, don’t succeed. We have to stand by him. We have to take care of him. But his crimes were against black women and girls and that was devastating for me.”

Sparkle also felt let down by this pushback. “One young exec stated, I don’t care if that is him on that tape because we can’t afford to lose him," she shared. "You don’t care if it is him on this tape with a young girl. I was like, 'That shows what kind of person you are.'”

Once authorities got involved with the case, Kelly further isolated his wife. He sent Andrea Kelly to a house in Florida while she was pregnant with their third child. He left her in the dark on the details of why. “I was under so much stress that when I went to the OB-GYN, we couldn't find his heartbeat.” Andrea went to the emergency room where they induced her labor.

Shortly after giving birth, Andrea Kelly found out while watching the news that Kelly was indicted on 21 counts of child pornography.  Part four of Lifetime's Surviving R. Kelly reveals how the outcome of the case ended up absolving Kelly of further ridicule.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Prince Williams/Wireimage via Getty Images

Cardi B Lands Leading Role In Comedy ‘Assisted Living’

Cardi B is making her way back to the big screen. The Bronx native officially landed her first leading role in the upcoming Paramount comedy, Assisted Living.

According to Variety, Cardi will play a small time crook struggling to find a hiding place after her latest heist fails. Her character, “Amber,” disguises herself as an elderly woman and hides out at her grandmother's nursing home. The film is described as a “raucous comedy” similar to Mrs. Doubtfire and Sister Act.

Paramount acquired the rights to Assisted Living in 2019. The film’s script was penned by This Is Us writer, Kay Oyegun.

Cardi, 28, made her film debut in the 2019 celeb-heavy stripper flick, Hustlers. The “WAP” rapper appears to have hinted at her Assisted Living role in a recent interview with Billboard where she dished on filming scenes for Fast & Furious 9.

“After ‘Hustlers’ I filmed a little bit for 'Fast & Furious' so I felt like ‘I’m ready for this,’ I knew what to expect,” she explained. “But the characters were a little different so I was like ‘Oh wow, I’m going to need more acting classes.’ I’m planning on doing a movie this year and I’m going to be the lead role so I’m like ‘I need to execute this flawlessly.’”

Besides film, Cardi was a judge on the Netflix completion show, Rhythm & Flow, and landed her own Facebook Watch series, Cardi Tries.

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Netflix Gives Sneak Peek Of Jay-Z Produced Western ‘The Harder They Fall’

Netflix gave a preview of the streaming giant's upcoming films on Tuesday (Jan. 12). Among them, the highly anticipated western, The Harder They Fall.

Produced by Jay Z and written and directed by musician Jeymes Samuel, the film stars Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Regina King, Delroy Lindo, Lakeith Stanfield, Zazie Beetz and Woody McClain.

The Harder They Fall follows the fictional character, Nat Love (Majors), as he seeks revenge on the man who murdered his parents. Besides signing on as a producer, Hov also created original music for the film.

The Covid-19 pandemic delayed filming, which began in March of last year in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Filming resumed in September but was paused again after one of the actors tested positive for coronavirus.

“What I love about movies is that they can make you feel every emotion,” King says in the Netflix teaser.

“And show you something you’ve never seen before,” adds Majors while clips from their film plays on the screen.

The Harder They Fall is one of 27 films headed to Netflix. See more in the video below.

2021 = a new movie EVERY WEEK on Netflix. Here's a sneak peek at 27 of the biggest, brightest, fastest, funniest, feel-good, feel-everything films and stars coming to Netflix this year pic.twitter.com/iCr1ZPrc7W

— NetflixFilm (@NetflixFilm) January 12, 2021

Continue Reading
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Webby Awards

Issa Rae Announces ‘Insecure’ Will End After Season 5

Insecure will return this year for a fifth and final season, Issa Rae revealed on Wednesday (Jan. 13). In a statement to Deadline, Rae and executive producer Prentice Penny showed gratitude to HBO and fans of the show.

“Prentice and I are so grateful that HBO believed in our show from the beginning and kept the faith in us to see our vision through the end,” said Rae.“We always planned to tell this story through five seasons, but we couldn’t have made it this far without the tremendous support of our audience. I feel blessed beyond measure to bring our characters’ stories to an end, on-screen at least.”

HBO’s Programming EVP Amy Gravitt, noted that Rae has “turned insecurity into an iconic form of comedy.”

Based off the 36-year-old’s popular Awkward Black Girl YouTube series, lnsecure was created by Rae and Larry Wilmore. The series premiered on HBO in 2016.

Season five will reportedly begin filming later this month with Rae, Yvonne Orji, Jay Ellis, Natasha Rothwell and Amanda Seales all expected to return. The previous season ended with Rae’s character at yet another crossroads with her on-again-off-again boyfriend, Lawrence (played by Ellis).

Season five of Insecure debuts later this year.

Continue Reading

Top Stories