Main menu

Pages

R. Kelly forced Aaliyah into a non-disclosure agreement

featured image

R. Kelly silenced Aaliyah and her family via a non-disclosure agreement, following their marriage and subsequent annulment by the 15-year-old singer.

The new allegations were made in the final part of Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly,” which aired Jan. 2-3. . The late Aaliyah was Jane Doe #1 in the trial.

“Surviving R. Kelly” utilizes Aaliyah’s story to spotlight her as a victim of R. Kelly, after years of media and music industry scandalizing her marriage to the now-doomed singer in the 1990s.

Aaliyah’s 1994 debut album was titled “Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number” and was recorded when she was 14 years old. R. Kelly – who mentored Aaliyah and was introduced to her by her uncle, music executive and manager Barry Hankerson – was the album’s primary songwriter and producer. At the time the album was released, rumors circulated that there was a relationship between 15-year-old Aaliyah and 27-year-old R. Kelly.

The couple were secretly married in August 1994. Aaliyah was 15 at the time, but the marriage certificate falsified her age as 18. The marriage was annulled by Aaliyah’s parents in February 1995.

In “Surviving R. Kelly,” on-camera interviews with individuals from R. Kelly’s camp who were in the room when the pair got married expressed their regret for the marriage. Individuals close to R. Kelly and Aaliyah share new details about the legal settlement that was allegedly reached between R. Kelly and Aaliyah’s family.

Members of Aaliyah’s family declined to comment with the producers of “Surviving R. Kelly,” according to a statement that aired as part of the Lifetime documentary.

A childhood friend of R. Kelly and his former bodyguard, Gem Pratt, appears on “Surviving R. Kelly” and claims that Aaliyah’s father was furious about the marriage and forced an annulment. Pratt alleges that Aaliyah’s family had a contractual agreement with R. Kelly that stated they would not press charges against him for the illegal marriage after it was annulled; in turn, R. Kelly sold the rights to her first three albums to Aaliyah’s family, giving them a financial incentive.

“Her father didn’t want her near him,” says Pratt in the docuseries.

Several on-camera guests on “Surviving R. Kelly” described the marriage as a way to get R. Kelly to avoid prison for statutory rape of a minor.

The final episodes of “Surviving R. Kelly” take time to cover the enablers at R. Kelly’s camp, who turned a blind eye to his abuse over three decades and helped the convicted musician make arrangements to see his victims, including booking flights for minors. girls to cross state lines for private meetings. A prosecutor who appeared as a legal expert in the docuseries described R. Kelly as “running a criminal enterprise”. Another expert said that “everybody had a financial incentive to look the other way”.

“He couldn’t do this alone. It’s impossible… It’s clear as day that there were enablers,” said former R. Kelly security guard Pratt. He later said, “This was not a one-man operation. Most people at that camp knew that many of these girls were minors. They had to.”

The NDA was raised at R. Kelly’s New York trial in 2022, but it did not receive wide coverage. The use of NDAs has become a controversial issue in sexual harassment cases, particularly in the workplace, highlighting a power imbalance with the perpetrator or corporations silencing victims through forced legal documents.

Prior to R. Kelly’s trial, journalist Jim DeRogatis – the reporter who first broke the news of R. Kelly’s sexual abuse more than two decades ago – uncovered the NDA R. Kelly used against Aaliyah. A few years ago, DeRogatis spoke out about the documents being leaked to him, stating in an interview that Aaliyah’s annulment and legal action against R. Kelly was sealed.

“It’s a harrowing document,” he said. “A non-disclosure agreement on both her and Kelly’s sides, pledging not to seek further legal action for physical abuse. So it wasn’t just underage sexual intercourse, he allegedly beat her, according to the court document.

Talking to Variety regarding the final installment of “Surviving R. Kelly”, executive producer Jesse Daniels said that the production team was careful not to exploit Aaliyah in the docuseries and hoped to highlight the abuse she tragically suffered by R. Kelly as a teenager. “We’ve had a lot of conversations about how to tell Aaliyah’s story every single time, because we really want to respect her legacy. But we can’t turn our backs on what she went through,” said Daniels.

Comments