By Tamantha Hip-HopVibe.com Staff Writer
With the premiere of Lifetime’s new show, Surviving R. Kelly, set to air this Thursday (Jan. 7th), new details are emerging of what the first episode will entail.
According to PEOPLE:
The documentary’s first episode includes an emotional interview with former backup singer Jovante Cunningham, who met R. Kelly at age 14 and claims she bore direct witness to his sexual encounters with underaged girls in the ’90s, including his one-time protégée Aaliyah Haughton.
“Aaliyah [was] very tom-boyish, glasses, braces, no swag,” Cunningham describes of meeting the 12-year-old aspiring singer who became acquainted with R. Kelly through her uncle Barry Hankerson, his manager at the time.
“She truly was a beautiful young lady. We used to sneak Aaliyah out of the hotel room and take her all over the place,” says Cunningham. Aaliyah would go on to make it big with her debut R. Kelly-penned single “Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number.” “Those were the good old days,” says the former backup singer, “but those are the things that also make you cry.”
During her interview, Cunningham breaks down recalling when she claims to have discovered her boss R. Kelly, then 27, and Aaliyah, then age 15, had a sexual relationship.
“We were out on the road with Aaliyah,” she says. “On a tour bus, there really aren’t many confined spaces. When you get on the bus there are bunks and so these bunks have little curtains you can pull at night if you don’t want anybody to see you sleeping.”
“So it just so happened we were all laying in our bunks and the curtains are open, everybody’s communicating, laughing,” Cunningham continues. “When the [room] door flew open on the bus. Robert was having sex with Aaliyah.”
Asked what she saw, Cunningham responds: “Things that an adult should not be doing with a child.” She adds, “I can’t stress to you how people are still suffering behind things that went on 20 years ago.”
This series will be a very interesting one to see. I hope that after hearing all of these different accounts, y’all can finally cancel R. Kelly for good.