In an exclusive South African interview, CapeTalk presenter Sara-Jayne King talks to Sparkle who featured in the R Kelly documentary series exposing allegations of sexual abuse.
Listen to her interview:
After the 6-part documentary series 'Surviving R Kelly' was released, containing allegations of sexual abuse by numerous women, he was charged, handed himself in last week, and has since been released on bail.
He pleaded not guilty to all charges.
US recording artist Sparkle, born Stephanie Edwards, met R Kelly back in 1989 and became his mentee and protegee.
But after what she calls his controlling behavior had severed businesses ties with the singer and moved to the Motown label.
She has revealed that the 14-year-old victim of Kelly’s 2002 child pornography case was her own niece and, that she had introduced the pair.
Sparkle joins Sara-Jayne King from the US to give her reaction to the latest in the R Kelly sex abuse scandal and to talk about her latest single which pays tribute to the often voiceless survivors of abuse.
Sparkle catapulted to fame in the 1990s after a duet with the singer achieved global success.
The early days were really great and I learned a lot in the studio from him like his writing technique.— Sparkle, US recording artist
She says she only realised there were problems with his behaviour long after she asked to be released from her contract in 1999. In about 2001 she began to hear details of what was allegedly going on.
But I didn't see anything when I was in the camp.— Sparkle, US recording artist
Asked whether she found it strange that he is accused of keeping her and others separated from one another she says this.
I didn't think it was weird. I just thought it was the way he wanted to set his camp up because I had heard about similar things in other camps.— Sparkle, US recording artist
She just knew that was not for her.
I am a speaker and I will speak with who I want to speak with.— Sparkle, US recording artist
He did not want his artists speaking to on another, she says.
I guess it was a controlling mechanism when I look back on it.— Sparkle, US recording artist
She says severing their relationship was bittersweet after being so close.
I considered him family, but in the end, he proved not to be such good family.— Sparkle, US recording artist
She says after they parted ways they barely spoke or saw each other.
But during the time they worked together she introduced her family to him, 'in the hope he could make them superstars as he had done for me', she explains.
And one of those family members was her then 14-year-old niece who Sparkle claims featured in the porn video in 2002, resulting in a child pornography case for which R Kelly was acquitted.
She says it hurts that people accuse her of throwing her niece to the wolves, but says she knows she did not do so.
I know that I did everything in my humanly possible being to protect her while I was in the camp.— Sparkle, US recording artist
After Sparkle left, she says she was unable to protect her niece any longer.
She says she was surprised at the number of women that came forward to participate in the documentary series, levelling accusations at R Kelly.
I was heartbroken, just seeing the number of lives he has ruined.— Sparkle, US recording artist
I am hoping and praying that Robert does receive help. He needs help, and he needs jail time.— Sparkle, US recording artist
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : [SA EXCLUSIVE] Singer Sparkle opens up about R Kelly sex abuse claims