The famed R&B singer of “I Believe I Can Fly” and “Ignition” has once again made headlines. But this time, it isn’t for the next epic installment of “Trapped In The Closet,” it’s for allegedly leading a cult.
On July 17th, Buzzfeed broke a story where three former members of R. Kelly’s inner circle allege that the singer is harboring six women between his homes in Chicago and Atlanta and controlling them mentally, emotionally, physically, and sexually.
Parents of the six women accuse R. Kelly of confiscating the women’s cell phones, requiring them to refer to him as “Daddy,” forcing the women to “turn around and face a wall” if other men are in the same room, physically punishing the women if they disobey or break his rules, and other actions that have leave these parents to believe their daughters are trapped in a cult.
This isn’t the first time R. Kelly has made news with accusations of sexual misconduct, he was charged in 2002 for possession of child pornography, but was later acquitted in 2008. He “unequivocally denies” these new cult allegations.
So, is R. Kelly really heading a cult? According to a Steven Hassan, founder of the Freedom of Mind Resource Center, author of Combating Cult Mind Control, and former member of a cult, in an interview with Rolling Stone, “It definitely sounds, from the behavior described – especially by the three former victims – like this is a mini-cult, and that he preys on vulnerable admirers.”
Whether or not this situation can accurately be described as a “true cult” is debatable. What can’t be denied, however, is that these women are with R. Kelly. They do live in half the time in Atlanta and half the time in Chicago. One woman, Jocelyn Savage, states that she isn’t a hostage, but it’s clear that she is with R. Kelly and is defending her situation.
A wellness check was performed by the Cook County Sheriff’s office, but nothing developed. The families of these women have instead turned to the media in order to fight to get their girls free from R. Kelly’s control.
These parents claim that they haven’t been able to keep in touch with their daughters. “I have no talked to my daughter in more than a year,” one parent stated. “We’ve had deaths in the family, birthdays, and I haven’t heard from her and she hasn’t been here for any of it. I didn’t even hear from her on Mother’s Day.”
“All I want to do is bring her home.”