Complicit Police, Staged Rescues, and Other Revelations from the Final Night of Surviving R. Kelly

Illustration for article titled Complicit Police, Staged Rescues, and Other Revelations from the Final Night of iSurviving R. Kelly/i
Photo: Frank Micelotta (Invision/Associated Press)

After six hours of footage spread out across three nights, Lifetime’s docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly” reached its dramatic conclusion Saturday night with it’s final two episodes “All The Missing Girls” and “Black Girls Matter.”

Executive producer dream hampton warned us that these final two episodes would be the most powerful and they definitely gave us a lot to absorb and process.

Here’s what we learned during the final night:

  • As of 2011, he was still in contact with the underage girl from the infamous sex tape

Kitti Jones, a former Dallas radio DJ, shared her story of her relationship with Kelly that began when she was 33 years old. Two years into their relationship, she left her job and moved to Chicago to live with the man she considered to be her boyfriend.

“A friend of mine had said, ‘Have you ever watched the sex tape?’ And I was furious with her and felt disrespected because at this point, this is my boyfriend,” she said. “But my curiosity kind of got the best of me, and I Googled it. [...] And when I saw the images, the images were the same girl that he had introduced me to a couple weeks before. I knew immediately it was the same woman. I didn’t know how to feel. I guess I felt like I was tricked into something.”

Disgusted by this revelation, she confronted Kelly about what she had uncovered.

“I called him and I was very upset, he could hear me crying. He just began saying things to me that I had never heard before,” she said. “Like, ‘Bitch, don’t ever accuse me of stuff like that, who are you listening to.’ […] He beat me in the car on the way back. That was the first time he was ever physical with me.”

  • He reportedly makes his victims self-incriminate themselves with written statements

A former employee who chose to remain anonymous revealed, “Kelly does make the girls write statements with false accusations against themselves, either saying that they stole something from him or their parents stole something from him, or even that his parents tried to bribe him. I would call the statements some kind of insurance. And in addition to the statements, the fact he videos everything sexual they do with him, I see the videos as being something he can hold against them.”

  • He reportedly keeps his victims hostage, forcing the production team to stage a successful rescue during filming

Chicago reporter Jim DeRogatis, who’s reported Kelly’s sexual misconduct for decades, dropped a bombshell report in July of 2017 in which he asserts that Kelly keeps his victims captive in both Atlanta and his native Chicago.


We are then introduced to the parents of Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Clary, two victims who have gone years without contacting their friends or family and remain in captivity to this day.

Joycelyn is best remembered for a TMZ video in which she asserts that she’s living with Kelly on her own free will, despite the troubling circumstances. Azriel is an aspiring singer who became ensnared in Kelly’s web at 17-years-old, despite her parents’ best efforts to prevent as much.


But in one of the documentary’s most riveting moments, Michelle Kramer—mother of another one of Kelly’s victims, Dominique Gardner—traveled with the production crew to Beverly Hills in May 2018 in an attempt to find her daughter after seeing Dominique in a separate TMZ video with Joycelyn. The cameras captured her face-to-face with a manager at the hotel where Michelle believed her daughter was located.

Thankfully, Michelle succeeds in her mission in finding Dominique in a hotel room, and their reunion brims with emotion.


“Nikka, I need you to come home,” Kramer tells her daughter. “Nikka, don’t do this. If I came this far, Nikka, don’t you dare.”

Presumably aware of the danger of interacting with her mother, Dominique tells her mother to return at 6 p.m. However, when her mother returns, she’s informed by the hotel manager that her daughter called 911 and told them that Michelle was not her mother. Accordingly, a police report was filed, and Michelle was informed that the authorities would be called if she didn’t leave.


But with her motherly instincts telling her something was awry, Michelle snuck back into the hotel, hid in a bathroom stall, contacted her daughter, and facilitated her escape.

“That’s the hardest decision I ever had to make,” a tearful Dominique admitted.

It’s later revealed that she returned to Kelly three days later, but left again afterward and is currently back with her family.

  • The conditions he makes his victims live in are repulsive

While R. Kelly’s massive estate might look like a castle, inside you’ll find anything but.


In speaking on the living conditions of his victims, survivor Jerhonda Pace said, “I felt like a prisoner. I didn’t have anyone to talk to. It was just me. I went into a depression. I was mentally drained, because he would break me down, then build me up, then make me feel like shit again, then do it all over again. He would really manipulate my mind. The breaking point for me was when Rob slapped me, and he choked me until I blacked out.”

Additionally, multiple survivors revealed that his victims were forced to use buckets instead of using the bathroom, and that the buckets could only be emptied with Kelly’s permission.


“Why would you go from being able to use your own bathroom to going in a room where you have to pee in a corner?” A’Iceis Clary, sister of Azriel Clary, asked.

  • He had inside help within the Chicago police department

In an attempt to check on the wellbeing of their daughters, the Clary and Savage families joined forces and urged police to conduct welfare checks at Kelly’s various properties.


“I was told about the wellness checks being done at the house in Atlanta as well as the studio in Chicago,” the anonymous employee said. “R. Kelly knew about the wellness check in Chicago before it happened because he has friends in the police department in Chicago, who warned him.”

As such, the wellness checks would prove to be fruitless endeavors. The police informed the families that both daughters had been contacted and neither was in danger.

  • He’s still abusing victims to this day

“It’s been almost two years now, and we still haven’t seen our daughter,” the parents of Azriel Clary said. They haven’t seen their daughter since her high school graduation in 2016.


In one of the most gut-wrenching scenes from the docuseries, Azriel’s parents believe they have finally found their daughter and begin throwing rocks at windows in a futile attempt to get her attention and stage their own rescue. However, they are unsuccessful in their mission.

Later on, an anonymous former employee notes that Kelly has learned to adapt to the times. “When the Savages first came out, talking about Joycelyn, R. Kelly had meetings to strategize to fix the situation,” they say. “The first thing was to put Joycelyn in front of the camera on TMZ, which is something he ordinarily would not have done. [...] As far as the video Joycelyn Savage made, I would say that it was scripted, because Robert does not allow those girls to say anything that he has not told them to say.”

Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for ya'll to stop putting sugar in grits.

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I wanted to throw up, cry, jump through the screen, choke the useless cops, scold those around him who did NOTHING, hug the girls, tell them they are loved, worthy, strong, beautiful. This docu-series is life changing. R. Kelly needs to be in prison. Period. God be with the survivors, their families. Bless them.