Parenting

Lifetime Documentary 'Surviving R. Kelly' Proves American Fathers Have Been Castrated

R Kelly attends the Z-100 New York Jingle Ball on December 13, 2013 in Madison Square Garden in New York City. (RTNJon Palmer/MediaPunch Inc. /IPX)

A family member sent me a frantic text to tell me to turn on Lifetime’s new documentary series about R. Kelly.

I spent the weekend watching episodes one through five and am in a state of shock and horror at the degenerate crap rich people can get away with. I’m from Chicago and I remember when R. Kelly was arrested for child pornography. I never watched the tape (that apparently everyone saw, which is another thing about this story I don’t understand. If there is a tape of a man having sex with a child, do not watch it, people. Turn it over to the police. What is wrong with you?). Somehow the details of his awful behavior escaped my notice. All I remember is that he was found not guilty. It turns out that the two main reasons for that were that the judge threw out major evidence of other sex tapes with minors found in his home because of a technicality, and the parents of the 14-year-old victim refused to identify her on the tape, even though other relatives and friends said it was her.

Even hardened journalists at the Sun-Times had difficulty describing what they saw on that tape that allegedly showed Kelly paying the child and then urinating in her mouth before assaulting her. Multiple people identified both Kelly and the child. Kelly’s defense was that it was not him on the tape. In what seems like the worst parenting move on the planet, the victim’s family refused to help the prosecution and are believed to have taken a big payday from the accused. Some father.

But that’s not the end of the bad fathers in this story. Right now there is a 20-year-old girl named Azriel Clary, who is believed to be living somewhere on one of Kelly’s properties and who hasn’t had contact with her parents for years. She met Kelly when she was 17 — when her parents stupidly took her to a concert and let her get up on stage with him. It all went downhill from there. They knew of the allegations against him. They had bad feelings from day one (parental intuition they didn’t listen to), which made them uneasy when he took their minor daughter backstage and she didn’t come out for a very long time. When she did, she had his number and said he was going to help her with her “singing career.” Soon, the child was running off to meet him alone at hotels. Her parents tried to stop her, following her to the hotel and taking her home, but Kelly had his hooks in her and soon she was back with him.

Unbelievably, Azriel’s parents agreed to let Kelly “mentor” her under the condition that she would be chaperoned by a record label employee who was female. They heard from her regularly until she was 18, when all communication ceased. Azriel was very talented, but no one in her family has heard from her since and no records have appeared starring her. Her Twitter account hasn’t been active since 2015.

The documentary is full of women (I lost count), including Kelly’s ex-wife, all telling the same story. Each one of them recounted how he made them call him “Daddy,” and said that soon after moving in with him their movements were severely restricted. This included going to the bathroom and eating, which they all claimed none of them, including his own wife, could do without asking permission. (To be fair, some don’t believe ex-wife Andrea Kelly didn’t know what was allegedly happening to the other girls.) What’s certain is that everyone around Kelly enabled him and none of them come off looking innocent except the young girls.

The fear and the sadness in the stories of the girls who were involved with Kelly who say they were “trained” to respond to him like beaten dogs are incredibly terrifying. Some of the parents of the girls still missing (there are several) got together to share information to try to find their daughters. A scary picture began to emerge from different sources saying Kelly was keeping some of these girls in small rooms with only buckets to use as toilets. Azriel’s parents heard she may have been living in his Chicago recording studio after having failed to escape. The rumor was that he was keeping her isolated from the other girls for trying to run away.

Azriel’s father, Angelo Clary, took his wife and went to the Chicago studio where no one would answer the door and so they called the police to do a wellness check. The police could not get anyone to answer the door and didn’t seem too interested in getting a search warrant to find out what was really happening. The people who know Kelly say he has friends on the Chicago police force. If he has been palling around with underage girls for as long as is alleged, it’s hard to believe the police don’t know about it. Chicago is smaller than it seems, especially for the rich and famous who live there. Is keeping a stable of missing girls one of those things you can just do if you have enough money to make everyone look the other way?

But here’s where it gets really strange. Imagine you are a father and your daughter is being held somewhere and you think she’s under duress and being abused by a man who took her from you when she was a minor. You know where she is. The only thing between you and her is a door. What do you do?

The internet has answers.

Master P has it exactly right. “If you’re somebody’s daddy…I’m not going to be on some reality show on Lifetime, I’m gonna be on CNN, straight up. I’m not about to play with nobody. I’m gonna burn it down. I’m gonna do something. That’s what I don’t like.” Me either. Instead of prying open the door with a crowbar, Clary throws pebbles at the window for a while and then gives up.

What is going on with fathers today that they don’t see that sometimes you have to act and take the consequences? Is everyone sucking down too much soy? No one knows if this girl is dead or alive and Mr. Clary walks away? No, sir. You’re doing it wrong. This is exactly the time for some of that toxic masculinity we keep hearing about. If you can’t break down a door to save your baby’s life, then I don’t know what humanity is doing anymore or why we haven’t all been destroyed by massive fireballs from the sky. All I know is that the girl is likely in danger (if she’s still alive) and her father is wasting his time throwing pebbles at the window.

Here’s the harsh reality: Clary gave his child to an accused pedophile. He may say he didn’t know or thought he could control it, but the truth is he risked his daughter’s life for a recording contract. That’s unconscionable. Now she’s gone. Given the facts about her disappearance, it seems there should be probable cause for a real investigation into what happened to her. Maybe the police in Chicago will do their jobs now that they are under a spotlight and go get a search warrant.

The one positive is that it seems like Kelly fans are finally waking up to the reality of who he is. On his first post since the documentary dropped, the responses are epic. And everybody wants to know, #WhereIsAzriel?

Protesters have gathered in front of the Chicago studio. Concerts are being canceled.

All I know is that no amount of fame or fortune is worth selling your daughter for. Keep your kids away from the spotlight. There’s nothing but horror and immorality there. Let them live quiet lives with dignity. Stop taking your kids to audition to be “stars” because none of these people in show business are happy or moral or mentally well. Have you noticed? They’re the most depraved people on the planet. Stop trying to make your kid into one of them. I often think that if one of my kids ever got “discovered” it would be the worst day of my life. I discourage them from even thinking about being “famous,” because fame in America comes with a very high price that very few can pay. If they don’t kill themselves with drugs, they hang themselves in despair. These are not happy people. They’re miserable. Why can’t you all see that? Stop envying the wealth. It’s clearly not making them happy or sane. Be poor and happy, or middle class and happy. Don’t envy these people but pray for them. And pray for Azriel and the other missing girls.