Jay Kelly is the middle child of R. Kelly and Andrea Lee. He was born Jaya Kelly, but he officially came out as transgender in 2014. Jay has a strained personal relationship with his father, but he has followed R. Kelly‘s career path and made music under the alias JaahBaby.
Read on to learn more about Jay’s past, his musical background, and whether he’s spoken on the sexual abuse allegations made towards his father. Here’s what you need to know about R. Kelly’s son Jay Kelly:
1. Jay Was Born In 2000 & Has Identified As a Boy Since Age 6
Jay was born Jaya Kelly in 2000, and was the middle sibling between sister Joann and brother Robert, Jr. Despite being raised as a girl, Jay told Paper Magazine that he identified as a boy as early as age 6 or 7. “When I was younger, I always felt like I had to make a choice. I knew that I was a girl who liked other girls,” he said. “But because of what I was taught, I felt like the only way you could like another girl is if you were a boy.”
Jay’s embrace of his masculine identity led to him wearing men’s clothes at school, instead of dresses or more “traditional” female clothing. He later said this approach got him “in trouble,” as he was subject to the mockery of his classmates. There were also a handful of instances where people tried to stop him from entering the wrong restroom.
Jay came out to his mother Andrea Lee at age 10, and he admits that he was nervous as to how she would react. “I remember when [Jay] first came out to me when she was 10 years old,” Andrea recalled. “She thought, ‘Oh Mama, I was scared to tell you because I didn’t think you would love me.’ But the unconditional love of a mother is like that of God.”
2. Jay Publicly Came Out as Transgender In a 2014 Instagram Post
Jay publicly came out as transgender in June 2014. He did so by penning a lengthy post on Instagram, where he thanked his mother and sister for their unending support. “[My mom] was like, ‘Baby, you know I love you if you were bi, gay, [lesbian], you name it and I would still love you so much,’” he wrote. “And same with my sister, she told me that she was proud of me, and respects me by calling me handsome and calling me her little brother now, and I love her for that, so you know it was great for me.”
Jay’s post (which has since been deleted from Instagram) also detailed his plans for the future. He told followers that he still had female organs, but that he hoped to get surgery to fully transition at some point. “I believe I am a boy and want surgery, and the medication to help me who I was supposed to be,” he said.
Jay admitted that he was “kind of” scared to come out to his father during a Q&A session on Ask.fm. He said that their relationship was “really complicated,” but was confident the R&B singer already knew about his transition.
3. Jay Releases Hip Hop Music Under the Alias ‘JaahBaby’
Despite their strained relationship, Jay has followed in R. Kelly’s footsteps and pursued a music career. Jay’s talents originated in high school, where he learned how to play the clarinet, the trumpet, and eventually the piano. He credits music with being a means of self-expression and escape, particularly when things at school or at home became difficult.
Jay told Paper Magazine that he would stay up all night and record music in his room. One of the tracks that came from these sessions “Reservoir,” was released as Jay’s first single in 2014. It was credited to Jay’s alias, “JaahBaby.” Jay’s latest single, “Focus,” was released in October 2019 and features a guest verse from Joann Kelly AKA Buku Abi.
Jay’s mother Andrea considers him to be a natural talent like his father. “Jaah is fearless to me as a person, and as an artist. One thing she gets from her father, true in her DNA, is her ability to create and produce by ear,” she said. “She’s entirely self-taught. When she wanted to learn piano, she just came to me one day and told me she taught herself how on YouTube. The same goes for making beats.”
4. R. Kelly Said That He Will Support Jay ‘No Matter What’
R. Kelly has rarely spoken about his relationship with Jay, but he addressed the latter’s coming out during a WGCI interview in 2014. When asked how he felt about his “daughter becoming his son,” the R&B singer said that he did not appreciate the line of questioning that was being presented on the air.
“You don’t really wanna open it up by saying that my daughter is becoming my son,” he told the host. “Don’t even give the blogs that kind of credit. You know what I’m saying? Real talk. Always believe what you see, with your own eyes. That’s the best way to go about this business. Why do you think I’ve been here for 27 years and still relevant? Because I don’t address sh*t that’s dumb. I just don’t do it.”
Despite the disagreement, R. Kelly agreed to discuss Jay and said that he plans to support him regardless of his gender or sexual orientation. “You save money so your kids can go to college – no matter what they are or who they are,” he explained. “They’re your kids, you gotta support them.”
5. Jay Has Teased the Release of a Song Aimed at His Father
Jay has not addressed the sexual abuse allegations made against his father, but he did announce that he has plans to release a track aimed at the R&B star. He posted a snippet on Instagram in January 2019 (see above), along with a caption that detailed the making of the track.
“It was very hard to record the song, let alone write it and produce the beat and I’ve just been thinking about everything I’ve had to deal with being R. Kelly’s child,” Jay wrote in the since-deleted post. “It was hard to even post the parts that I did. The past couple days have been a little rough but we gone be Gucci dawg. I appreciate and love all of the support ya’ll been giving not only me but my whole family.”
Jay has yet to release the full track, citing technical difficulties and a move to Georgia as the biggest impediments. He penned a lengthy message to fans, apologizing for the delay, but it remains to be seen whether the track will see the light of day.