When Lifetime aired its six-part docuseries, Surviving R. Kelly, earlier this month, it prompted many people to speak out against the R & B singer. The series detailed several allegations of sexual and physical abuse against Kelly, including testimony from his ex-wife Andrea. But because the kids were not included in the documentary, people are wondering what R. Kelly’s children think of Surviving R. Kelly.
While R. Kelly’s three children — Joann, 21, Jay, 19, and Robert Jr., 17 — haven’t discussed their opinions with any mainstream media outlets, two of them did post lengthy messages on their Instagram accounts. In a recent Instagram story, Kelly’s oldest child, Joann aka Buku Abi, broke her silence on the allegations against her father and revealed the emotional toll it took on her.
"To the people that feel I should be speaking up/against everything that is going on right now. I just want you all to understand that devastated is an understatement for all that I feel currently," she wrote. "I do apologize if my silence to all that is happening comes off as careless. That is my last intention. I pray for all the families & women who have been affected by my father's actions. Trust, I have been deeply affected by all of this."
Buku added that the process has been difficult, and while she likes to keep her personal life off limits to the public, she needed to confront the negative comments she is receiving. “Reminders of how terrible my father is, and how we should be speaking up against him, rude comments about my family, fabricating me, my siblings & our mothers 'part' etc. does not help my family (Me, my sister, my brother, and my mother) in our healing process,” wrote Buku. “Nor does it allow a safe space for other victims who are scared to speak up, speak up."
Kelly’s middle child, Jay, also shared an emotional message on Instagram. He posted a clip of his new single, and thanked his fans for their love and support through this emotional time. “It was very hard to record the song, let alone write it and produce the beat, and I've just been thinking about everything I've had to deal with being R. Kelly's child,” wrote Jay. “It was hard to even post the parts that I did. The past couple days have been a little rough — I appreciate and love all of the support ya'll been giving not only me but my whole family. We see ya'll man and we appreciate every single one I hope to get to as many people as I can and just help them through my music dawg, again, thank you all for the support and love.”
In a recent interview with The Bert Show, Andrea, the mother of Kelly’s three children, revealed that the kids knew she was going to film Surviving R. Kelly, and that they were supportive of her decision to come forward. However, she added that as much as she tried to prepare them ahead of time, it was still difficult for her kids to process what they heard in the series. “My children were well aware of me coming forward and that I was about to tell my story, and they were my biggest supporters,” said Andrea. “But again, nothing can prepare you for that, because at the end of the day, the monster that people speak of is also your father.”
Andrea also revealed that all three kids are now completely disconnected from their father, and that Kelly has made it difficult for them to reach him. “He has no relationship with his children now,” she said. “He doesn’t call them, he changed his phone number. We don’t have that phone number, my children don’t have that phone number.”
As the discussion about Kelly and his alleged transgressions continues, it’s important to remember that his children are not responsible for his actions. This is a difficult time for them, and they’ll probably need all the love and support they can get.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.