Back in 2001, R. Kelly was first exposed for his “pattern of sexual predation on young women.” The following year, an anonymous tape surfaced of the self-proclaimed “Pied-Piper of R&B” appearing to have sex with an underage girl.
The tape sparked a widespread investigation into Kelly’s actions, but after six years the R&B superstar was eventually cleared of 14 charges of child pornography.
Nine years after that, amid the rise of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement, came the resurgence of predatory allegations against Kelly. In a report published by Buzzfeed, at the time, three sets of parents accused Kelly of holding their daughters hostage in an “abusive cult” where he subjected them to physical, verbal and sexual abuse.
Though Kelly denied the allegations, additional claims continued to surface from several different women, including one who claimed he infected her with herpes.
But now, in a new detailed interview with Teen Vogue, another woman has come forward to speak her truth about Kelly, and condemn the industry, particularly the Black community, for remaining mum on the longstanding issue.
Asante McGee, 38, divulged the horrific details of her relationship with Kelly, and how exactly she got out of the toxic environment after two-years under his “physical and psychological grip.”
“I saw a side of him abusing women mentally, physically and sexually. I knew at that point … I had to go.” McGee said. “This was not what I wanted, this is not how I should be treated, and no other woman should be treated that way.”
As she continued, she denounced the notion that because she and many of the women involved with Kelly are of legal age, there may not be any wrongdoing on his part – and if so, how could a grown woman fall for the hype, knowing Kelly’s history.
“I knew about the Aaliyah [marriage] which I thought was just a rumor. As far as the sex tape, I never believed it was him. I never saw the tape; I just thought it was somebody else. I just didn’t believe it,” she said.
But, she says the reason why is simple, “there’s two parts of him.”
“There’s R.Kelly and there’s Robert,” she said. “Going in, I saw R.Kelly.”
According to McGee, the two met back in 2013, at a promo show for his “Black Panties” tour. The two then met in Louisiana, and again a few months later, when he welcomed her back to his room for hours of “groupie sex.” The next day, she said he gave her a $1,200 Louis Vuitton bag, as a parting gift.
She said from there, their interaction turned into a two-year relationship, where she traveled the world and spent time with the singer on the road. But, the relationship wasn’t all fun. In fact, she said there were times when he made the women stand up every time he entered the room.
“I took him very seriously. When he’s joking you know he’s joking. He wasn’t playing. When he said ‘every time a king enters the room, you stand up’ — you stand up,” McGee shared. “I don’t care if he goes back and forth ten times, you better stand up and kiss him each time he comes in and out that room.”
In other instances, she said he would make her wait outside for hours while he entertained other women. She even mentioned an incident where he forced her to engage in sexual acts with another woman while he recorded, and later encouraged an open relationship between the three of them.
As their relationship strengthened, she was then introduced to other women Kelly entertained, who he called “family.” But, as things intensified, so did Kelly’s behavior.
She said Kelly began controlling her every move, threatening and cursing at her, all while keeping her away from her three young children. However, to make up for the abuse, Kelly opened up a new Atlanta home to all of the women, but with strict conditions.
“If we wanted to go in the hallway, we knock on the wall and wait for permission. If I wanted to go to the kitchen, I gotta knock on the wall and wait for permission or wait for someone to say come in,” McGee explained. “This one time, I knocked before going into a room and nobody answered so I thought nobody was home and walked in and [Kelly] was in a corner with [a woman],” she continued. “From then on, if I wanted to leave my room, I had to text him for permission. Every day he made up a new rule.”
She said the women weren’t fed unless authorized by Kelly, they were required to hide their figures in public, were not allowed to bathe without permission, and if the rules were broken, they were sent to their room for days without food.
However, by June of 2016, she said she had enough. According to Teen Vogue, McGee called a friend, who posed as an Uber Driver, and drove her to the airport to flee the situation.
“He called me and told me I need to apologize,” she said. “He said I had ’til the end of the week to come back home or lose his number. He wanted me to [call] him and apologize for disrespecting [him],” she said. But, she never looked back.
Since then, she has shared her story with Buzzfeed, and has appeared on the Today show. Though she has faced backlash for her actions, with many accusing her of lying, she says she’s proud to continue to share her story.
I’m disappointed, but I can’t be mad about the backlash I get — people saying, ‘she wasn’t abused, she’s lying’ — because I once was that girl,” McGee expressed. “People don’t realize the process and they think I’m just coming out. I was the first person [who had lived as part of Kelly’s alleged harem] to speak [to a reporter] on the record. When I left, my goal was to get the girls home to their parents. I never intended for it to go where it is.”
Kelly “needs to be stopped,” McGee said. “He is ruining young girl’s lives. He’s ruining women period. These young girls don’t deserve that.”