R. Kelly has been a pretty popular topic of conversation for the better part of a decade, but recently, a documentary into his life has seen the Grammy-winning singer’s secret life thrown into sharp relief for all to see; including the authorities.
Much of what is said about Robert Sylvester Kelly involves the allegations of abuse that happen behind the closed doors of his lavish homes, one of which has recently gone on the market. In the meantime, the house remains a standing symbol of what could very well be a very sordid legacy…
Grammy winner R.Kelly’s former Lakeview home in Chicago is up for sale. This seemingly innocuous revelation comes at a rather opportune time, considering that the singer is now the subject of a tell-all documentary about his secret life and affairs.
The house is worth a cool $3.89 million. Of course, the hefty price tag on this particular mansion isn’t just for the beautifully appointed spaces within, but the notoriety of its former owner.
Of the many rooms in the famous house, it’s the Colorado Room that is perhaps the most well-known to the those familiar with R. Kelly’s sordid legacy. It is in this room that Kelly allegedly made a sex tape with a very underage girl; a sex tape that went viral in 2002.
The viral video featured a 14-year-old girl who just happened to be the singer Sparkle’s niece, engaging in sex acts with the much older R. Kelly. Yet even though the video was more than proof of illegal acts, Kelly was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008. It wouldn’t be the last we heard of his illicit activities, however.
The 12-room home was originally built as a church in 1885. Considering the depraved acts and behavior supposedly committed in that converted house of holiness, one can’t help but see the irony in the situation. Nevertheless, churches have always been important to R. Kelly and his family.
Growing Up R. Kelly
Just like his single mother, R. Kelly began his musical career by singing in the church choir. Kelly grew up in the Ida B. Wells Homes public housing project in one of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods. Nevertheless, his poor upbringing did little to stifle his ambition.
Kelly’s father was never really in the picture and though his mother had done her best, the lack of an older male authority figure obviously had some effect on the singer’s developmental years. It made him more conniving and manipulative than most might have assumed.
Both the living room and master bedroom feature a fireplace. Speaking of fire, the singer wasn’t just under fire for the affair with Sparkle’s niece, but also the various extramarital affairs and secret liaisons he kept secret from his former wives over the years. One of those former wives was deceased singer Aaliyah.
At the time of his marriage to the then 15-year-old Aaliyah, Kelly was 27 and the secret ceremony they had in Chicago was only facilitated by way of a fake ID that indicated Aaliyah was 18 years old. This lie, one of many throughout Kelly’s life, only worked for so long.
Unfortunately, the marriage was rife with further complications from the start. Like the fact that she was potentially pregnant before it occurred. This proved to be a false alarm and once the press got news of the underage union, the marriage between R. Kelly and Aaliyah was annulled in February 1995.
R. Kelly would go on to achieve varying degrees of success in his career, as would Aaliyah until her untimely death in 2001. Yet for the rest of her career, Aaliyah was forced to dodge questions about her former mentor and the curious nature of their relationship.
Out of Respect
Since her death, Kelly himself has rarely spoken about Aaliyah. He says that he refuses to do so not just because the two remained close friends after the marriage, but out of respect to her mother and father, who had asked him personally not to mention that part of the tragic young star’s early career.
Rocking the Bedrooms
Of all the bedrooms in the house, many once housed the assorted members of what some are describing as a cult of sorts. One of Kelly’s former employees, who has chosen to remain anonymous, claims that Kelly doesn’t allow any of the alleged girls who have lived at his home over the years many freedoms.
This includes forcing them to say what he wants them to say and not allowing them to contact their families without express permission and under supervision. Many of the girls that Kelly has allegedly taken into his home are also presumed to have been underage when they arrived, and therefore impressionable.
Raising the Roof
The roof of the Kelly house features a deck and a sauna, where many of the Grammy winner’s potential “sex slaves” were allegedly forced to service Kelly and his friends. There is a theory that all of the women under his care have been allegedly brainwashed by the singer to do only as he desires.
The Kelly Cult
There is evidence that those who lived with Kelly have a sort of cult-like mentality when it comes to their supposed leader/lover/idol. Many of these rumors are the result of a detailed Internet article about how R. Kelly trapped at least six women, all of whom were looking to break into music, in a personal “sex cult.”
These women were all seeking guidance and help with their music careers before Kelly allegedly took control of their lives. If the article and the first-hand accounts are to be believed, Kelly dictates “what they eat, how they dress, when they bathe, when they sleep, and how they engage in the sexual encounters that he records”.
There are also rumors that the star confiscated the women’s cell phones and bars all unnecessary contact with friends, family, or access to social media. Many of the parents of these girls and former Kelly employees have said that it appears as though the girls had all but vanished.
Holes in the Case
Kelly, of course, strenuously denies the story time again and the fact remained that all the women referenced were of legal age. There was also the fact that the man who wrote the article in 2017 had been covering Kelly’s allegations for the better part of two decades.
21-year-old Joycelyn Savage released a video to TMZ following the story saying “I’m not being brainwashed or anything like that…” Though she would not reveal where she happened to be speaking from in the video or what the nature of her “relationship” to R. Kelly actually was. But that was hardly the end of her story either.
Suing R. Kelly
Even if Kelly’s current girls don’t seem eager to accuse him, there have been many girls over the years who have brought suits against him. 20-year-old Faith Rodgers sued R Kelly, claiming he unlawfully gave her alcohol, assaulted her and gave her a sexually transmitted disease, and that’s not all…
Denies it All
Rodgers also said that during their year-long relationship, Kelly made her do humiliating things sexually and called her “nasty, degrading things.” He denied the claims, as he had done many times he was accused of sexual misconduct before that. So many of his denials involve accusations of the predatory pursuit of underage teens.
Victim of Abuse
Ironically, R. Kelly himself is a self-admitted victim of child sex abuse, the details of which he explains in his autobiography. The long and short of it is that he was raped by an older woman when he was only eight and that she did it again, and again in secret for years.
Rodgers explained that she was having sex with Kelly in 1991 when she was only 15. At the time, Kelly himself was 24. The relationship only ended when she turned 18. Which may lead some people to believe that R. Kelly is only interested or was only interested in younger teenage girls. Though his M.O. has changed in recent years.
Success and Suits
Throughout all the accusations, Kelly’s career never seemed to falter at all. He released songs, many of which were successful, he won awards, and he made money; money which he used to fund his lavish lifestyle and multiple houses, including the one in Lakeview.
In 2001, Tracy Sampson, a former intern at Epic Records, sued R Kelly and accused him of inducing her “into an indecent sexual relationship” when she was 17 years old. She claimed he treated her as little more than a personal sex object before casting her aside. It was the first sign of the emerging scandal.
During her legal case, Sampson said that Kelly became more and more controlling as time went on. Until he controlled every aspect of her life including who she would see and where she went. They ended up settling out of court for an undisclosed sum, but the groundwork for future cases against Kelly was made.
Two more cases followed in April and May of 2002. He was sued by Patrice Jones, a Chicago woman who claims he impregnated her when she was underage. She added that she was forced to have an abortion as a result. It was settled out of court and an NDA was signed.
The second woman, Montina Woods, alleged that Kelly videotaped them having sex together without her knowledge. The tape, like the one that eventually got R. Kelly in the hottest water, was circulated and sold by bootleggers under the title R Kelly Triple-X. Woods also settled out of court and signed an NDA.
The Famous Tape
It was in June 2002 that the world finally learned about Kelly’s alleged predilections. The video of Sparkle’s unnamed niece involved intercourse, oral sex, urination, and other sexual acts. It was sent anonymously to the Chicago Sun-Times and passed on to police who had their forensic experts examine it before making an arrest.
Six Years in Wait
Kelly posted a bail of $750,000 and immediately plead not guilty to the charges, but it took a further six years for the case to eventually come to trial. When the jury finally got the chance to deliberate, they concluded that they couldn’t prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that the girl on the tape was a minor and Kelly walked.
Despite eventually being declared innocent, the six years in between saw Kelly facing an immense amount of criticism in the press. It also saw him being charged with another 12 counts of making child pornography in Florida. He was then arrested in his holiday home and police ended up seizing a camera.
Footage on the confiscated camera allegedly showed Kelly clearly having sex with what was supposedly another underage girl. Unfortunately, the charges were dropped when the presiding judge agreed with the singer’s defense team, who argued that the police had lacked sufficient evidence to justify a search.
Approaching the Press
Despite the fact that the story about Kelly’s alleged sex cult being quashed by its own supposed members, many victims eventually came forward with further allegations against the star. Jerhonda Pace even broke a non-disclosure agreement to speak to authorities about having sex with R. Kelly while she was underage.
Starved for Affection
Then there were the accusations of Kitti Jones, another woman who claimed to have been abused by Kelly. She alleged that the singer had starved her, coerced her into sexual encounters with other women, and physically abused her on more than one occasion.
Kitti was apparently a member of Kelly’s inner circle and she came forward with others to speak to the BBC in March of 2018. She, along with one of Kelly’s former friends, revealed that it was common knowledge that Kelly specifically sought out women who “looked young” when he was at parties.
In late 2018, the #MuteRKelly campaign began lobbying for Kelly’s record label RCA to sever ties with the singer. They wanted Kelly’s alleged abuses to be brought to bear and insisted that concert promoters, ticket sellers, and streaming services should all agree to demote Kelly’s songs from their playlists.
Thus far, many of the star’s former entourage have left his employ on the wave of negative press. The star’s lawyer, Linda Mensch, his publicist, and his personal assistant are all among those who quit. Though Mensch says that her departure was unrelated to the allegations against him.
Protests and Opinions
Despite protests outside his shows, Kelly continues to perform live. He has also been filmed stating that the campaign being levied against him was “too late.” That may not be so, as the publicity from the recent Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly” may sway public opinion against him even further.
In the meantime, another of the star’s former partners has come forward saying that the star “intentionally” infected her with a sexually transmitted disease. It’s yet another allegation that Kelly vehemently denies, but time will tell if the courts go after him again as more come forward.