There’s an old saying to be careful what you ask for because you just may get it in spades.
And after outcry over the disproportionate news coverage of a white woman compared to that for missing Black people, that adage proved itself true, and then some, when it was reported on Friday afternoon that celebrated gospel singer Kelly Price had been missing for more than a month.
In the days since the news broke, speculation about her well-being and the reported circumstances that led to her alleged disappearance have run rampant despite the absence of any real confirmation of, well, just about every aspect of the story.
A Twitter Spaces conversation about the situation was held Saturday afternoon to help sort out all the reports and separate fact from fiction as concerns were growing about Price. The talk that invited Twitter users to participate generated information that may have not been immediately considered and offered different perspectives and contexts that had previously been absent from the larger discourse about Price’s situation.
Who is Kelly Price?
Kelly Price, 48, is a singer who scored numerous hits throughout the late ‘90s and ‘00s and appeared on “R&B Divas: LA,” a reality show that debuted in July 2013 on TV One. As Price explained, she was “the voice” behind many Bad Boy Records hits, and she reached No. 1 with her 1998 single, “Friend of Mine,” accomplishing that feat without making an accompanying video.
Why is she in the news now?
Price has been registered as a missing person in Georgia, as confirmed to NewsOne by the Cobb County Police Department. She last spoke with her family in early August while she was in the hospital treating COVID-19.
While hospitalized, Price’s condition worsened and she spent some time in the ICU. She was reportedly discharged three weeks later but her health status was not clear.
When Price’s family asked authorities to perform a welfare check at her home last week, Price was officially listed as missing.
Is she OK now?
Yes and no, depending on who you ask.
Price’s family has expressed concerns about her whereabouts and well-being, but her lawyer and at least one friend have said without proof that Price is fine. Those claims have been disputed, though. Throughout it all, Price — the one person who could put all of the reports and rumors to rest — has not issued an official public statement verbally or written.
Price’s older sister, Shanrae Price – her only living sister – is disputing reports that she has been found after the singer’s attorney released a statement Friday.
“I have not seen my sister in months,” Shanrae Price told celebrity YouTuber Larry Reid. “Until we physically see my sister, we don’t know anything.”
“My sister is a very visible person,” Shanrae Price added. “We haven’t heard anything from her in months. She was very sick with COVID. This is unlike her. No one has heard from her. I know everyone has their own opinions. I don’t do stuff like this but I did want to call in. Until we physically see my sister, we don’t know anything.”
Shanrae Price alluded to the fact that their mother died less than a year ago: “I’m just asking people please pray okay, because she has two children and it’s just she and I. We lost our mother, we lost our sister six years prior — It’s just she and I.”
Nicci Gilbert, a singer from the 1990s R&B group Brownstone, told Black News Channel on Friday that she is close and good friends with Price and had not heard from her.
But former rapper Mia X posted on her Instagram on Saturday afternoon that there was no foul play involved and that her friend is simply recovering from COVID-19.
“I KNOW she’s not missing or being held against her will,” Mia X wrote in part before adding: “I heard her voice and I can’t wait until she’s back moving around and on social media personally talking to her peeps and performing again.”
Hours before Mia X spoke out, a tweet that was posted by the verified account for a person named Sara Mornell said the report about Price being missing “is not true.” Mornell claimed she had “just spoke” to Price, who was “recovering with her supportive partner D.”
Adding to the confusion was a message was posted to Price’s Instagram Stories with a screenshot of Sara Mornell’s tweet, which suggested Price was in control of her phone and using social media amid reports of her alleged disappearance.
Are there any suspects?
Yes and no, depending on who you ask (a familiar theme here).
While there was not a criminal investigation immediately announced, if there was one consistent theme during the Twitter Spaces conversation, it was the suspicion of Price’s significant other, who Mornell referenced simply as “D.”
The person who has been identified on social media as Darryl Crump could also be Daryl Crump or Darrell Crump, or he could be none of those people. That is a long-winded way of saying not much is known about the man who could either be Price’s boyfriend, fiance or husband, depending on reports.
Mornell called him Price’s “partner,” but according to the Clark County Clerk’s Office in Nevada, she and Crump are more than that and were married on Nov. 1 of last year, one day after applying for a marriage license.
However, Price told MadameNoire in an interview in March of this year that she was engaged to be married.
“I haven’t said anything much publicly yet but I’ve been with someone for about two years now. I intentionally kept it quiet because I told myself when it comes time to let the world know, I’ll let the world know exactly who that individual is,” Price said at the time.
An Instagram post from early July showed Price embraced by a man who is presumably Crump.
Social media sleuths tried without proof to link Crump to the death of a woman who died in 2013. An online obituary listed Dr. Judy Wilson Crump as being a resident of Marietta — which is located in Georgia’s Cobb County, from where Price was reported missing — and her surviving husband was identified as “Darryl.”
Crump allegedly is the same person identified in a police report about stalking women.
Again, the alleged spelling of Crump’s first name varies across reports — something that skeptics suggested is a go-to move for people who want to conceal their identities.
People speaking in the Twitter Spaces conversation said without proof that Crump’s alleged shady past suggests that he is capable of taking Price’s phone and posting to social media from it in an effort to show that she is fine.
They pointed to unverified reports that he has taken her phone from her in public before.
Bossip reported that authorities said Crump was “cooperative” when they spoke to him.
Prior to her newest relationship, Price had been married for 23 years to her former manager, Jeffrey Rolle. They divorced in 2016.
Does this have anything to do with Price’s career?
Price released her newest album, “Grace,” in April, and two months later she had successfully negotiated her confirmed inclusion in a Las Vegas residency that was scheduled to begin in early July. But Price reportedly never participated in a single show of the residency after getting paid, according to Reid, the celebrity YouTuber. Reid said without proof that the Las Vegas residency deal was finalized during a meeting in which Price appeared disheveled.
But at the end of July, Price took to Instagram to post a selfie video saying she tested positive for COVID-19.
Cobb County officials said they did not suspect foul play, but an active investigation to locate Price was ongoing. If the response across social media was any indication, Price’s fans will not rest until they can verify her safety.
There are an estimated 64,000 black women or girls missing in the U.S. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that out of the 613,000 people reported missing in the U.S. last year, about 60% were people of color.