Kitti Jones left her home and career for a relationship with the R&B idol. That’s when she says the abuse began. Now she’s speaking out.
Kitti Jones had been dreaming of this moment for years.
It was June 2011, and R. Kelly had just performed to a frenetic crowd at the Verizon Theatre outside Dallas, Texas. It had been nearly two decades since the singer’s raunchy lyrics and honeyed voice turned him into a R&B superstar and sex symbol. But despite multiple controversies over his alleged sexual relationships with underage girls, his still-dedicated fan base sent his latest album – the throwback soul LP Love Letter – to Number Six on the Billboard 200.
Love Letter is relatively tame, coming from the man who once sang, “Girl, I got you so wet, it’s like a rainforest/Like Jurassic Park, except I’m your sexasaurus.” But like most of his shows, the Dallas concert was raucous, with Kelly launching into boisterous call-and-response theatrics and leaving the stage to embrace screaming fans. When he took off his sparkling button-down shirt and revealed a Dallas Mavericks jersey, the place erupted.
Surprisingly, Jones – a popular DJ for Dallas hip-hop and R&B station 97.9 The Beat – wasn’t in the audience. She’d been into Kelly since she was a teen in the early 1990s, when she’d hide in her room with his music to escape her mother’s tumultuous romantic relationships. She’d buy every magazine he was in and, upon the release of his 1993 solo debut, 12 Play, took a limo to a third-row seat at her first Kelly show. She’d seen him in concert seven times since. “He was my Brad Pitt,” she says.
But even though she was disappointed to miss it, bailing on the concert meant something better: she was at Fat Daddy’s, a club in suburban Mansfield, Texas, setting up for the Beat-sponsored after-party. She was finally going to meet the man she’d been captivated by for more than 20 years.
Later that night, the guest of honor arrived. Clad in a crisp white shirt, diamond earrings and tan fedora, he hardly looked his 44 years. As Jones made her way upstairs to the VIP section, she approached R. Kelly (real name Robert Kelly). “I said, ‘Oh I’m so upset, because this is one of the first concerts I’ve ever missed,'” Jones tells Rolling Stone. “And he was like, ‘Well you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.'”
Jones says he then invited her to the next stop on the tour, which took her aback. “I’m thinking, ‘I know he’s not inviting me.’ On the inside, I’m freaking out a little bit,” Jones says. “Did he really say that? He was everything that I thought. He was handsome. He represented a powerful man. He just owned the room [and had] all the things that make up that ‘Oh my God’ factor.”
As Jones tells it, when Kelly went to shake her hand after small talk, he gave her a piece of paper with his phone number and told her to text him her number. Jones says that after she texted Kelly from the bathroom, he replied, saying to always call him “daddy” – never call him Rob.
Worried that any continued interaction that night would look unprofessional, Jones says she decided to take off. “I was just like, ‘I’m outta here,’ beeline to my car,” she recalls. Around 3 a.m., Jones says Kelly called her to ask where she had gone, following up with a text that read simply, “Sin pic.”
The night would begin, according to Jones, a two-year relationship with Kelly rife with alleged physical abuse, sexual coercion, emotional manipulation and a slew of draconian rules that dictated nearly every aspect of her life. Those rules, including what and when to eat, how to dress, when to go to the bathroom and how to perform for the singer sexually, were first described in writer Jim DeRogatis’ bombshell BuzzFeed featureon Kelly last July.
But the girls that story focused on met Kelly when they were in their teens; Jones was different. She had a career. A car. An ex-husband. A child. She’d been working in radio for more than five years and was used to being around celebrities. And while Kelly denies the allegations to Rolling Stone, over the course of multiple interviews with Jones and others familiar with her situation, what emerges is a detailed account of her relationship with Kelly and a firsthand look at life in the singer’s inner circle.
SOURCE: Jason Newman