World-famous R&B singer R. Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for sex trafficking and racketeering. Witnesses allege that the singer has been carrying on an operation of recruiting underage female fans to be part of some sort of “harem” for many years now. The particular case R. Kelly (also known as Robert Kelly) has been convicted of emanated from a Brooklyn, New York City court. The singer still faces similar charges in a different case in Chicago. Alleged victims spoke out after his sentencing to express a sense of relief that their abuser will finally meet justice.
R. Kelly has a reputation for inappropriate behavior toward underage girls. The first controversy of this sort that Kelly dealt with came about in 1994 with R&B singer Aaliyah. Kelly was introduced to a then 13 or 14-year-old Aaliyah by his manager and her uncle, Barry Hankerson. Hankerson also happened to be an executive at the record label that signed Aaliyah. Her first album was written and produced by Kelly and it was called “Age Ain’t Nothin’ But A Number”. The title of the album was also the name of the lead single from the album. The project was recorded when Aaliyah was no older than 15 years old.
Shortly after being introduced to Aaliyah, R. Kelly and Aaliyah began to make public appearances together. At least two videos of the two of them together show them wearing matching outfits. There was an obvious question if the two of them were in a relationship. This was due, in large part, to the general public not knowing exactly how old Aaliyah was. She could have passed for early 20s although she was just in her early teenage years.
Fast forward to later in 1994, 27-year-old R. Kelly married 15-year-old Aaliyah. This was allegedly done to hide any type of sexual abuse toward Aaliyah from R. Kelly. Rumor has it that she may have been pregnant with Robert’s baby. Somehow, her age was listed as 18 on the marriage certificate to avoid any legal issues. Once her parents found out about the marriage, it was annulled.
This doesn’t mark the end of R. Kelly’s controversy with underage girls. A sex tape came out in the early 2000s in what appeared to be R. Kelly’s house. The tape is grainy, but a person who appears to be R. Kelly was engaging with a clearly underage girl in an inappropriate fashion. Kelly tried to deny that the tape featured him and that it was not his house, but several landmarks in the house had already been seen on television shows like “BET: How I’m Living”. One of R. Kelly’s proteges by the name of Sparkle came out and said that the young girl in the tape was her niece.
There are countless stories about R. Kelly that point toward his guilt. Sometimes these stories are simply hearsay, and other times there is documented evidence such as a sex tape and a marriage certificate. Some say that 30 years is too long of a sentence because Ghislaine Maxwell only received 20. But to compare Kelly to Maxwell is not really appropriate… the proper comparison would be Kelly to Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell was the madame and procurer for Epstein and his “friends”. R. Kelly was essentially Epstein and Maxwell rolled into one.
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