R Kelly’s daughter says her father still “inspires” her as a musician.
R.Kelly is currently in jail facing multiple charges of sexual abuse and sex trafficking. But that hasn’t stopped his daughter, Joann Kelly, from using her father’s monumental music career as inspiration. “I think you get to see a different side of it than somebody who sees it from the outside and gets to see the glitz and glam. I got to see the hell part of it,” said 21-year-old said Joann, who goes by Abi, in a recent interview with The Associated Press. “I didn’t want to be in the industry,”
Joann explained that dealing with her father’s poor behavior made it difficult for her as a child in school. “At home it’s normal, you’re living a life with your parents; your dad and mom aren’t going to go into all the bad things that might be going on outside of home,” she said, “but kids in school don’t necessarily care. Fifth and sixth grade is when I started learning the sore part of it, the not so good part. I think that was the hardest part for me because for so long, I went with this image of who my dad (was) and what my family (was).”
The bullying got so bad that she says she contemplated suicide. She even recalls a time when she was singing during a high school performance, which she said: “literally felt like drugs.” “I needed more of this,” she added. “Clearly I can’t keep running from this anymore. Ever since then, I’ve been in it, and it’s literally saved my life.” Knowing that her father’s name would possibly haunt her own music pursuit, she decided to go by Buku Abi as her stage name almost three years ago. However, through it all, she still relies on her singing, songwriting dad to give her inspiration. “There’s a lot about him as an artist that inspires me.”
“He has made mistakes in his life and other things that he’s dealing with, but when it comes to that, I can’t take that away from him,” she said. “That’s the one thing that will always keep us connected.”