Former R. Kelly protégé Sparkle has finally offered some clarity over why she introduced her pre-teen niece to the singer even though she suspected at the time that he was having sexual relations with young, underage girls.
Sparkle was speaking out Tuesday after being heavily featured on the bombshell docuseries, “Surviving R. Kelly,” which focused on sexual child abuse allegations against the embattled singer.
While on “The Clay Cane Show” on Sirius XM’s Urban View, Sparkle was asked why she would want R. Kelly to meet her 12-year-old niece. Sparkle said she didn’t believe that Kelly really married the 15-year-old Aaliyah.
“Who thought that was real?” Sparkle asked. “I thought that was a hoax.”
She figured an adult would always be present, she said, but Kelly managed to spend alone time with the child. Sparkle did, however, testify against Kelly when he was on trial for child porn that featured her niece.
Like she said on “Surviving R. Kelly,” Sparkle reiterated that she was naive at the time.
On August 31, 1994, R. Kelly, 27, illegally married Aaliyah, who was only 15 years old, in Chicago. Just a few months before, on May 24, 1994, Aaliyah’s debut album Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number was released, which Kelly wrote and produced. On the wedding certificate, her age was listed as 18, but the marriage was annulled in February of 1995. Later that year, VIBE famously published the wedding certificate, even though both Aaliyah and R. Kelly had denied the marriage.
Sparkle just this week dropped a new single, “We Are Ready,” which is an anthem for survivors.
Written by Sparkle, the lyrics are in part, “Said that we were weak long enough, but time is up/ We ain’t weak/ We have a voice and it’s loud, no we ain’t just figure it out/ When we come together we win we overcome battles, we fall, we’ll do it again/ And it’s never been an easy win, but we are ready.”
Since the docuseries aired, sex abuse hotlines have seen an extreme increase in calls.
“The National Sexual Assault Hotline saw a substantial increase in calls on the night ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ premiered,” according to the Daily Beast. “The hotline, which connects survivors to emotional support, information and resources, received 27 percent more calls on Thursday than the same day the week before.”
Listen to Sparkle’s interview Tuesday on “The Clay Cane Show” on Sirius XM’s Urban View below.