In 2015, Alice and Angelo Clary took their daughter Azriel to an R. Kelly concert in Orlando, to celebrate Angelo’s birthday. Azriel was 17, with, her mother says, a bubbly personality and dreams of being a famous singer; during the show, Kelly, who has long self-identified as “the Pied Piper of R&B,” pulled Azriel and several other young girls onstage. Her parents knew enough to be alarmed, but not yet enough to be horrified.
“Everybody knew R. Kelly’s background with females,” Angelo says. “You know, you kinda suppressed the thought.”
“He’s never been found guilty on any of the charges,” Alice adds, referring chiefly to Kelly’s acquittal on 14 charges of child pornography in 2008. “So, I mean, if you look at it from a legal standpoint, you think, ‘OK, maybe it wasn’t any truth or validity to it.’ ’Cause people make accusations on people all the time. It doesn’t mean it’s actually true.”
“I felt as though, you know, yeah, I knew his background,” Angelo continues. “But my daughter gon’ be different. I’m right there with her. Her mom right there with her. So me, being a father—a protective father—I’m OK with it. ’Cause I don’t think none of this could happen to me.” Read more