Lifetime’s lengthy and detailed documentary Surviving R. Kelly seemed to highlight every aspect of the singer’s disturbing sexual and emotional alleged abuse toward young black women, but according to singer-songwriter Sparkle, there were plenty of elements left on the cutting room floor.
The former protégé and collaborator to the shamed singer shared her suspicions about R. Kelly’s behavior and his marriage to the late Aaliyah with SiriusXM’s Clay Cane Tuesday (Jan. 8). Sparkle, born Stephanie Edwards, explained how she was also one of the first people to call the police once she was informed of sexual abuse from members of the singer’s inner circle in the early aughts.
“I called the authorities and they came and they investigated my sister and brother-in-law, along with my niece and they stated that nothing was going on,” she said. “I did that. And then fast forward to 2001, late 2001, when I saw the tape, you know, I called the authorities. I did what I was supposed to do and what was right. I didn’t hesitate. Not a second. I was on the phone with them.”
This was also something she shared in her interviews with Surviving producers, which she hopes will see the light of day soon.
“I sat there for four and a half, five hours speaking the truth, and you may see 10, 15 minutes of me in the documentary,” she said. “And there were things left out. There [were] things spliced up, and ya know, I’ve wished that Lifetime would release the unedited versions of everything that I stated”.
She also stated she was one of the first people to immediately question R. Kelly’s friendship and later quick marriage to Aaliyah, who was 15 at the time. Sparkle was essentially a part of Kelly’s creative camp when she provided vocals to Aaliyah’s first album, Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number.
Sparkle shared how her recollections about the relationship didn’t make it the documentary but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
“Who thought that was real? You know what I mean? Like I didn’t even, I thought that was a hoax that that’s not real, you know, you know, that was my naiveté of thinking that it wasn’t real because like again, Barry Hankerson was there,” the singer said about their relationship.
Because Aaliyah’s uncle and former manager was involved in bringing Kelly and Aaliyah together, she believed it was safe for her then 12-year-old niece to meet the singer.
“This shouldn’t and couldn’t have happened. I’m thinking now this is a hoax. She’s only 15. Oh, this is nothing. He can’t marry a young girl. So, you know, didn’t think anything of it.”
Listen to the Sparkle’s interview below.