It may be a new year, but there is no timeline for healing, and the survivors of R. Kelly's allegedly heinous sex crimes can attest to that. Back in October, an early screening of Lifetime's documentary Surviving R. Kelly was evacuated after threats were called in about a potential bomb. Reports later stated the anonymous call was traced back to the Pied Piper’s hometown of Chicago.
Kelly has denied all accusations against him, despite dropping a 19-minute confession over the summer, ironically entitled, “I Admit.” Now, according to People, his former backup singer Jovante Cunningham claims she witnessed several sexual encounters he’d had with underage girls, including the late R&B icon Aaliyah.
During the series' first episode, she recounts that "we used to sneak Aaliyah out of the hotel room and take her all over the place" during her Age Ain't Nothing But a Number era. What was once a sweet memory is now one of "those ... things that also make you cry."
On a tour bus with few spaces for privacy, they were "out on the road with Aaliyah [while most of the team] were on their bunks, communicating, laughing."
When asked to detail specifics, Cunningham curtly stated, it's "things that an adult should not be doing with a child." In 1994, it was reported that R. Kelly married the "4 Page Letter" soulstress, who listed her age as 18 on the marriage certificate. Despite not publicly speaking on the nature of their relationship, Kelly's former assistant Demetrius Smith admitted to obtaining the falsified documents for the teenager and "was present at the wedding."
"That broke my heart right there because I really believed him when he said that he wasn’t messing with Aaliyah… Once he told me that, I was at a loss for words," he recounted. A year later, the marriage was annulled.
The six-hour docuseries is set to air in three parts, beginning this Thursday, January 3 at 9 p.m. EST.
(Photos from left: Roger Wong/Ovoworks/Ovoworks/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images, Prince Williams/WireImage)