Warning: Spoilers for Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly will be contained within the following article.
Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly has been generating a ton of buzz lately, in the immediate aftermath of the six part docu-series having been aired. The show — which includes interviews with several of Kelly’s former girlfriends, his ex-wife, and members of his entourage — dug in to the years of Kelly’s success as a musician. This period of time in his career, when he reached the height of his fame, was plagued by accounts of sexual misconduct — particularly with several underage girls.
One of the more prominent interviewees was singer Sparkle, a protege of Kelly’s who worked with the R&B singer closely in the ’90s. Sparkle collaborated with Kelly for her 1998 breakout single “Be Careful,” which Kelly wrote, produced, and directed the video for. According to Sparkle’s extensive interview in the docu-series, the singer brought her niece — a young rapper who remained unnamed throughout — to meet Kelly. Her niece was subsequently the subject of Kelly’s infamous sex tape, one which included Kelly urinating on the young woman.
“On the tape, my niece has the same hairstyle she had when she turned 14. That was her, for sure. And that was him. Definitely,” Sparkle said in one of her interviews.
The heartbreaking confession by Sparkle in reference to her niece showed her visibly upset while talking about the revelations. Sparkle said she felt that she shouldn’t have allowed Kelly to be introduced to her family. She also spoke of her reaction to seeing her niece on the tape in question. She revealed that the entire thing made her sick, and that the situation had made a negative influence on her mental health.
“It [expletive] me up, it really did. It’s over with, but it still haunts me. I should have never introduced her to him. I should have never introduced my family to him. How dare [he],” said Sparkle, fighting back tears, in her interview.
Now, according to BET, Sparkle is making a musical comeback, and has dropped a new single immediately following the final episode of Surviving R. Kelly. Sparkle alleged that Kelly tried to pay her off to keep quiet about the sexual abuse her niece faced, but she refused. She felt as though the situation had caused her to lose her musical career. She also revealed that her family turned on her after the ordeal, and now refuses to speak to her.
Her new single, “We Are Ready,” has empowering lyrics that touch on Sparkle’s feelings about the ongoing drama. The track was penned by Sparkle, and produced by Jesse Francois.
“Said that we were weak long enough, but time is up / We ain’t weak / We have a voice and its loud, no we ain’t just figure it out / When we come together we win we overcome battles, we fall, we’ll do it again / And it’s never been an easy win, but we are ready,” Sparkle sings on the new track.