*Asante McGee is one of the numerous victim/survivor’s featured in Dream Hampton’s Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly” earlier this year. The program detailed accusations about the singer sexually abusing and kidnapping underage girls and young women.
Keeping the momentum going about her two-year relationship with the singer, McGee has granted several interviews and recently wrote an op-ed (see article here) for “THINK,” which is NBC News’ opinion section on their website.
However, before the whirlwind surrounding the six-part documentary, McGee wrote about her life with R. Kelly in the book, “No Longer Trapped In The Closet: The Asante McGee Story,” published in November 2018 (buy here). She told the EUR in a recent phone interview that the book serves as a vehicle to let victims/survivors know that anyone, famous or not so famous, can be abusive and should be held accountable.
“Love yourself first and don’t let the pain overshadow you,” McGee said. “I feel that the reason why he has gotten away with so much is because of who he is. If it was just somebody that worked at the grocery store and doing the same things that he’s doing, he would have been put away a long time ago. So, everything they’re doing is not gold. Don’t lower your standards and accept less than what you are worth.”
McGee, who also suffered abuse at the hands of her mother and her former husband, added that the victim-shaming of those in such situations needs to stop.
“People always say it’s about money and us getting paid,” McGee said, “but it’s not about money for me. It’s about bringing awareness. And it’s not just about R. Kelly, it’s about anybody being in an abusive relationship.”
She continued, “I have people who come to me all of the time saying that they’ve been abused but they have not confronted their abuser. So, if they see that we can come out about somebody like him then they wouldn’t be afraid to speak the truth about their abuser. And just stop hiding because if he/she abused you, nine times out of 10, they have abused others.”
Her involvement with R. Kelly began in 2013 when she met people in his entourage on a promo tour. It was not until January 2014 that McGee met R. Kelly and their relationship went full speed ahead. She said for the most part that everything went well for much of the two years they were together.
“I was a fly-in (being flown into various cities to meet R. Kelly) for two years,” McGee said. “He did little things like asking me to call him ‘daddy.’ One time, he tested me by putting me in an SUV for eight hours. But, for (most of) those two years, he never showed signs of abuse.”
She added, “It wasn’t until he moved me into that house (in Atlanta) that he showed signs of abuse. I get a lot of backlash because a lot of people think he abused me for two years and that is not the situation.”
Yes, moving to the house in Atlanta is when McGee knew she was in trouble and she admits to being abused sexually and verbally. She stayed in the house for three weeks before she was able to make her get away.
“That’s when the abuse began,” McGee said. “By my second week living in that house I already knew I was leaving. I just had to figure out how I was going to leave.”
She continued, “Originally, my plan was when he had a show in New Orleans, I was going to leave, but then me and a trainer got into an altercation. When me and (R. Kelly) talked about it, he took up for him.”
“So, I had a friend pretend that she was from Uber so she could come and get me,” McGee recalled. “(The trainer), an assistant, and security were outside talking when (my friend came) and they said, ‘You’re leaving?’ and I said, “Yes.” I walked down a long driveway and got in the back seat (of her car).”
McGee has not looked back and has been warning folks ever since then about R. Kelly. Unlike many of his accusers, McGee was much older, in her 30s, when she met him. Regarding that, she said, “Abuse does not have an age to it. If you have low self-esteem and if you have been in an abusive relationship previously, you’re vulnerable.”
Watching the Gayle King interview with R. Kelly in early March, with him declaring that he never abused anyone, made McGee “angry and “upset.” But what really continues to get her mad is the interview King also conducted with two young women, Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Clary, who maintain a relationship with him and denied that they are being abused.
“I’m heated because I feel like they are now in too deep,” McGee said. “When I contacted their parents in 2016, I wanted those parents to get those girls out of there before it got to the level that it is now. The longer you are with your abuser the harder it is for you to break away. So, with those girls, it’s really heartbreaking.”
As for claims of Savage, Clary and others being kidnapped or held against their will, McGee added, “When we say ‘held captive,’ we are not saying as far as bondage. It’s mentally. So, if you’re mentally trapped, then you are not going to admit that you are mentally trapped. Even Gayle King said that while she was interviewing them, (R. Kelly) called a few times to let those girls know that he was close by. So, they knew what they had to say.”
For more on Asante McGee’s story about R. Kelly and ending the cycle of abuse, you can buy her book “No Longer Trapped In The Closet: The Asante McGee Story” here. Also, check out her Instagram, here.