In an Instagram story statement that is at once an apology, an explanation and a request for love and understanding, R. Kelly’s daughter Buku Abi, born Joann Kelly, described her infamous father as a “monster.”
The 21-year-old singer, songwriter, musician, artist, model, and daughter of Andrea Kelly is accomplished, talented and beautiful.
And devastated, she says.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Buku, ‘Speaking From the Heart,’ Said She’s ‘Well Aware of Who & What’ Her Famous Father R. Kelly is: ‘The Monster…is My Father’
In a statement she posted to her Instagram story, Baku Abi told her followers that she is “devastated” and apologized for not speaking sooner and she’s praying for victims and their families.
“I just want to say a few things …Before I start, I just wanted to be known that I am speaking from the heart …” she wrote.
“I just want you all to understand that devastated is an understatement for all that I feel currently. I do apologize if my silence to all that is happening comes off as careless. That is my last intention. I pray for all the families and women who have been affected by my father’s actions. Trust I have been deeply affected by all of this. However, it’s been very difficult to process it all let alone gather all the right words to express everything I feel. Anyone that knows me personally or has been following me throughout the years knows that I do not have a relationship with my father. Nor do I speak on him or on his behalf. I also am not fond of dealing with my personal issues or personal life experiences through social media but I feel things are starting to get out of hand, unfortunately …”
She continued, “Going through all I have gone through in my life, I would never want anyone to feel the pain I have felt. Reminders of how terrible my father is and how we should be speaking up against him, rude comments about my family, fabricating me my siblings and her mother’s part etc. does not help my family …” she wrote.
Abi said that as she and her mother and siblings try to heal, people who attack or comment negativity on her family could impact “other victims.”
“Nor does it allow a safe space for other victims too scared to speak, up speak up.”
She wrote that the “same monster you all are confronting me about is my father. I am well aware of who and what he is. I grew up in that house. My choice not to speak on him and what he does is for my peace of mind. My emotional state. And for my healing.”
Abi closes by saying that the post took her three days to write and that she wants people to know, “I do care and I love you all,” but asks that people who visit her social media page “bring peace and nothing else.”
2. She Told TMZ Last Year When the Alleged R. Kelly Sex Cult Story Broke That She Felt ‘Terrible’
After Buzzfeed ran its explosive article about an alleged R. Kelly sex cult in 2017, Buku Abi was cornered by tabloid site TMZ. In a brief 1-minute ‘interview,’ where a TMZ reporter or paparazzi asked if she was supportive of her father she said, “…it’s hard …it’s family matters. I try not to speak about it too much …it is what it is. I feel terrible but,” and she goes on to say that “we’re family …we have to deal with each other.”
That was eight months before the Lifetime documentary on the ‘Ignition’ singer. In her IG post of Wednesday night, she says that she and her father do not really speak.
“Anyone who knows me personally … knows I do not have a relationship with my father,” she wrote.
3. Buku Abi, Who Just Released a Music Video for a Track Called ‘Reflection, is a Singer, Songwriter, Musician & Visual Artist Whose Work Has Been Called ‘Evocative’
She is a singer-songwriter who has been posting tracks to her Instagram page and YouTube for two years.
One of the hundreds of supportive and glowing comments on her Instagram page, which has 31,000 followers, reads like this:
“Buku you are amazing and brave and a brilliant artist! From artist to artist can I just say….Wow! Powerful, provocative, evocative. As an artist who grew up in an abusive family myself, I can see the depth, the message and how your suffering has spun incredible Art. I’m adding you to my list of favourite artists!”
And of her art, for example, she has been lauded for her at once “disturbing, abject” and provocative work like the above titled, “Daddy’s Fav.”
Buku lives in Miami and Chino Hills, California.
4. While She & Her Family Have Been harassed & Criticized, She Has Lots of Support & Lots of Fans
She said in her IG post that she has been criticized for not “speaking up.” She said she’s devastated.
“Trust that I have been deeply affected by my father’s actions,” she wrote. “It’s been very difficult to process it all let alone gather the right words to express everything I feel.”
She is 20.
She says she and her family have been on the receiving end of vitriol and false accusations.
Being reminded of “…how terrible my father is and how we should be speaking up against him, rude comments about my family, fabricating me and my siblings and my mothers’ part …does not help my family …and (their) healing process.”
5. She’s the Daughter of Andrea Kelly & Sibling of Robert Jr. & Jay Kelly. The Family Suffered at the Hands of R. Kelly, Her Mother Said When Describing Her Near Suicide Attempt
Robert and Andrea “Drea” Lee were married in 1996 and had three kids; Joann, Jay, and Robert Jr. Jay was born Jaya and announced he was transgender in 2014. After almost 13 years of marriage, the couple divorced in 2009.
Andrea Kelly got an emergency protective order from a Chicago judge in early October of 2005 after alleging her husband physically assaulted stalked and harassed her, MTV News reported at the time.
In her 2005 petition to the court seeking a protective order, which she let expire, she said her then-husband slapped her “for lying to him.” She also said at the time that she asked for a divorce and he allegedly “pinned me down and continued to hit me, yelling, ‘Don’t you leave me! Why are you leaving me?’ He says, ‘I’m sorry, I’m not a wife-beater, my hand was open. It’s not like I did it for no reason. You made me do it,’” her petition read. She said she didn’t call police on her husband because “I thought it would get better.”