Sometimes survival is about choosing not to be a victim.
We at BlocSuite were contacted by an individual who was not a victim of R. Kelly, but was pursued by Kelly and his team. She wrote a note, which we would like to share. Her name will not be provided, as we would like to keep her anonymous. We understand, respect, and will make every effort to respect her privacy, as we completely understand the responses that could potentially be prompted in today’s digital society. Please understand that this was not her request. This was a decision made by the leadership of BlocSuite.
Here is a copy of the message that she decided to share with us:
“I am sitting here after watching Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly and honestly I do not know how I feel right now. I truly sympathize and identify with a lot of what some of the young ladies described as their experiences with Robert, but I am also conflicted because I feel like it’s not all on him! I know it is hard to write that as much as it is to read it but that is truly how I feel; that is even as a victim of sexual assault myself! There are some people that know about my experience with meeting R. Kelly and getting to hang out with him back in 2001 in Orlando, FL but it is not something that I really run around talking about.. I guess it is especially because when I met him it was the spring before the downfall when the sex tape came out later that year. It became less of something I shared after the tape came out and the trial to be quite transparent. I ultimately think that I was at an age where I was old enough to pay attention to some things and think things through a little bit, however I did put myself in very similarly compromising positions as to what some of the young ladies described. I didn’t meet Rob at the mall, but instead minding my own business a man approached me in the parking lot of a Walgreens in Orlando, FL as I was walking back to my apartment telling me that his boss wanted me to have his number and to call him. Initially I didn’t pay it much attention figuring that he was talking about maybe the manager in the Walgreens, as he seemed to have been flirting with me. I was 20 years old at the time living in Orlando as I was there doing an internship while I was in my junior year of college at the Walt Disney World College Program. When I was listening to the ladies speak on how he would have men approach them or go out to get girls for him it really hit me. I didn’t really pay attention at the time until I later met him and he told me how he saw me, but basically I was coming out of the Walgreens store in which the trucks he and his entourage were in were parked out front and he noticed me. That is what led to the guy running up behind me in the parking lot. I remember every single detail about that night but I will just skip to the points that really struck me tonight and made me realize that I also could have been a victim of R. Kelly’s, but I WAS NOT! Let’s make one thing very clear, I did not have sex with him at any point nor did I ever feel like he pressured me in that way. But what I do know is that I can see how these young girls at the time ended up in the situations that they did with him. I think back to how when I looked at the piece of broken cardboard that the numbers were written on and I thought that it said R. Kelly how excited I was! I truly couldn’t believe what my eyes were seeing. I actually still have that piece of cardboard to this day. I thought someone was playing a trick on me because anyone who knew me at that point knew that I was a HUGE R. Kelly fan; I would always say his #1 fan! The excitement went even higher when I went through the task of confirming it was him by calling one of the numbers (there were 3 listed) and it was for a studio in Orlando; when I called and asked for him by R. Kelly I was told that he wasn’t in at that time!!! When I finally actually talked to him later that morning (it was Easter 2001 – never will forget that date) and I heard his voice that is when I knew it was R. Kelly on the line! Though honestly I still considered that someone was playing a trick on me. Actually a couple of days later I ended up just getting into a taxi and going to the address that he told me to over the telephone. When I think back to it now especially with all of the human sex trafficking and abductions of women going on I thank God that it didn’t turn out to be something like that. At that time I didn’t have a cell phone attached to me like we do today so if I was taken or killed I would have just been gone. Crazy the things that you do without really thinking when you are young. The taxi drove into some industrial park – I was very nervous – but the address was the studio that I had telephoned with the contact information that I was given. I sat there and waited in the reception for like an hour plus before they took me back to a room inside of one of the studios. When I was watching the show tonight and the ladies were describing how there were often girls in different rooms I started thinking maybe that was a part of why it took so long for them to take me back because they needed to figure out where to put me. When they took me back to that room I still ended up having to wait for a couple more hours.; perhaps he was making his rounds based on what they said on the series. I called him and he kept telling me that he was on his way back. I was getting so upset sitting there waiting that I was ready to leave; I even told him that I was about to go the last time he called but really I couldn’t because I had spent $40 to get to him when I was only making $6 an hour at my internship; he told me he would give me the money when I got there (he gave me $100 plus had someone take me home the next day)! When that door opened and I looked to see that it was really R. Kelly, I was still shocked. So much so that I just sat there. I guess he was surprised at my reaction because he even said to me “What, I don’t get no love?” to which I stood up and gave him a hug. I had always thought of what I would do when I met him because I loved him that much, but I also always knew that I wouldn’t act like a star-struck groupie fan either! We sat and we talked, but one of the first things he asked me was how old I was. He had already asked me that on the telephone, when we first spoke and I had informed him that I was 20 years old and would be turning 21 in July. I kid you not he probably asked me that about 4 times in the course of an hour. He even asked me where my mother was, and I was like “huh, I am 20 years old and I already told you she is home in Delaware”. To me I thought that was odd and it also said that he must have some inclination that he tended to be interested in girls that may be younger than they should be. That was also the first thing that probably made me react to him a little differently. I was listening to the young ladies tonight during the show thinking about how they were saying it was hard to not like R. Kelly and they are absolutely right. He was very easy to talk to, open, soft-spoken and didn’t seem to be the big star that he was in those moments that I shared with him. I may not have fallen victim to R. Kelly like the ladies in the series are claiming but I have the shared experience of being a victim in other situations when I was around their age with other boys/men. That is the thing that kind of blows my mind when I think about it because of the experiences that I had prior to meeting him that should have taught me not to just go off to meet some random guy just because of some piece of cardboard that said R. Kelly. In no way do I blame the young ladies for being victimized because given their ages and given Robert’s he was the adult and he should not have been involved with them at all. However, being that I was once a girl that age I also know that when girls are dealing with different things they are vulnerable to be victimized. The one lady talked about how much she wanted to be a singer and that is basically how he was able to get her to do things with him so quickly is an example of that. Again, not blaming her at all, but because of what she desired (just as the therapist said on the show) it made her an easy target. I realized that in the situation when I met R. Kelly there wasn’t anything that I wanted from him and at that time I also wasn’t trying to fill a void or seek some sort of validation by getting involved with him. I remember my best-friend (who is a guy) saying to me that I should have gotten us a car, money, something in a joking way and I just laughed it off. I wonder now that he has daughters of his own would he say the same thing in a joking way? Even then I honestly didn’t really take offense to it or realize that it played into the culture that allows for black girls and women to be viewed as sexual objects in exchange for money and things; something, anything! That is probably the biggest intrinsic thing that kept me from falling victim to him along with the fact that I was 20 at the time. Looking youthful is something that I have had going for myself for quite some time so many people that found out that I met him said that he probably thought I was 15; I didn’t think that I looked 15 but I can admit that I looked younger than almost 21 at that time. I am almost 39 now and people often think that I am still in my early to mid-20s! I actually hung out with Rob (that was what I called him) a few times after that night, and always at the studio though there was talk about us actually going out together. The funny thing is how my roommates would say that I was dating R. Kelly and I was like “no we are just friends” because in my mind I figured there were other women that he probably met and saw all over the world just like he saw me that night. Now that I think about it that is another thing that probably kept me from falling victim because I didn’t get caught up in the idea of the fantasy of dating this man. R. Kelly’s music was the soundtrack to my losing my virginity – 12 Play was it – and we even discussed this one of the days I went to visit on his tour bus. That conversation on the tour bus came out of him talking to me and in that moment I felt like I was his therapist. He was sharing some really deep things with me about how hard it is to be a R. Kelly and people not understanding the difficulties of being him. I brought up what I did about losing my virginity to his music trying to lighten the mood, but it was also that conversation I think that began to change my perspective of him. I still loved R. Kelly the musical “genius “ that I knew him to be before I met him, but after what he shared with me I wasn’t sure of what I thought of R. Kelly the man. I have my own issues that I was working through and what that moment for sure said to me was that he had some of his own that he was trying to understand and work through as well. In that moment he seemed human but I also got a sense that there was something terribly wrong he was trying to deal with. Now that I think of it maybe that conversation was the biggest reason why I didn’t fall victim in meeting him. I think that even more so now after hearing on the series how he shared things with some of the women and how that drew them in. For me that made me think and that thinking is probably what saved me! As previously mentioned, I never had sex with him, but we did have sexual conversations over the telephone. I actually met a guy during the course of hanging out with Rob (that is how I refer to my interaction with him) and the night that Rob and I had planned to get together with intention of maybe crossing that bridge I decided not to go. I actually made the decision to stay at the guy that I met place while he was working on a grad school paper and we watched NBA playoff games. The funny thing is that I actually told him about my hanging out with Rob that night (I don’t think I told him that I planned on maybe sleeping with him) and he was always so shocked that I chose to stay with him and hang out instead. I ended up getting engaged to that guy, but we didn’t get married! There is so much more I can say with further details about my experience in knowing R. Kelly, but honestly they aren’t needed. So many of the things that the women on the series talked about experiencing with him I also did but I guess I handled it differently. I know what it feels like to be raped and assaulted so it really pained me to watch that. I never watched the tape, still haven’t to this day, because I do not want to see anyone in such a position that may not have wanted to be in that. I also do think that R. Kelly is a victim himself and that it is that which has led him to do the things that he has done, but it doesn’t excuse what he has done if indeed they are true. People that know I have met him have asked me over the years what do I think to which I always give the same answer that I believe that he has done some things that he knows were not right while I also believe that some people took advantage of knowing this “sickness” that he has until it didn’t work out to their advantage. I could have never found myself with a 20 plus year old man when I was 12, 15, 17 years old, and my mom made sure of that. Older guys have been looking at me since I was 12 years old and there was a time when I tried to say flirt with an older boy closer to 18. My mom found out (nosey neighbors) and she took me up to the park where he was playing basketball to tell him how old I was and that he was not to bother with me; in so many words. That guy stayed away from me after that day! So while I would never blame the girls/women, as I have stated before I was once a girl and I know that when we are seeking things, as I learned I was at that time, especially when coming of age and into our own sexually we can try to be a lot older than we are. I will reiterate that R. Kelly being the adult that he should have always done what that guy my mom ran up on did and that was NOT bother with young girls knowingly. It hurts me to hear that someone I admired at one point victimized so many women (allegedly), but the more disgusting thing to me is how common this really is and people don’t want to acknowledge it. There are 2 more nights of this series so I am pretty sure that I will have more to think about as it goes along.”
With the “Surviving R. Kelly” series coming to a close, we felt that was it was extremely important to share the perspective of someone who was personally close to the situation. We know that this note does not encompass full detail, and may not provide as much detail as some people may want. We also want to know more. In an effort to know more, and in conjunction with New Twist Radio, the author of this note will be interviewed live on Intelligent Ignorance this Saturday, January 12th at 1:00PM EST. Make sure you follow @BlocSuite, @Intelligent.Ignorance, & @NewTwistRadio on Instagram for more details as it grows closer to the show.