R Kelly’s back-up singer, Jovante Cunningham, who appeared in the first episode of the upcoming documentary series Surviving R. Kelly, claimed that she saw the singer having sex with 15-year-old Aaliyah.
Jovante Cunningham who worked as R Kelly’s back-up singer in the 1990s, claimed that the singer had sex with his 15-year-old protege Aaliyah on a tour bus and also had several sexual encounters with a number of underage girls in his ’90s heyday.
“She truly was a beautiful young lady,” Cunningham said of the singer. “We used to sneak [her] out of the hotel room and take her all over the place. Those were the good old days, but those are the things that also make you cry.”
“We were out on the road with Aaliyah. On a tour bus, there really aren’t many confined spaces. When you get on the bus there are bunks and so these bunks have little curtains you can pull at night if you don’t want anybody to see you sleeping … So it just so happened we were all laying in our bunks and the curtains are open, everybody’s communicating, laughing. When the [room] door flew open on the bus, Robert was having sex with Aaliyah.”
When asked what she saw, Cunningham replied: ‘
Things that an adult should not be doing with a child.’I can’t stress to you how people are still suffering behind things that went on 20 years ago.’
R. Kelly met Aaliyah at the age of 12 and acted as a mentor, producing her debut album Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number. There have long been rumours of an inappropriate relationship between the pair, including a claim that they married in 1995, when she was 15 and he was 27. Aaliyah died in 2001 at the age of 22, when her plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Marsh Harbour Airport in the Bahamas, where she had been filming a music video.
It was gathered that representatives for Kelly responded with “no comment”, when asked about the claims relating to his inappropriate relationship with the young singer. The first episode of the six-part documentary series airs January 3 in the US, on Lifetime.