*Drea Kelly who is so much more than R. Kelly’s ex-wife, choreographer, dancer, producer, actor, survivor and conqueror – chops it up with iHeart radio personality and EURweb.com Spotlight host Jazmyn ‘Jaz’ Summers.
She is looking gorgeous and fit and is producing a burlesque show “La Belle Jeté Burlesque and Cabaret” in Atlanta and other cities that you’re not gonna wanna miss.
“The meaning of the name La Belle is french for ‘the beautiful,” Drea explains to EURweb Spotlight. “And there’s a Grand Jeté in ballet. It’s a big leap where you throw your leg and try to get clean across the floor. I’ve often said my life has been one big beautiful leap. That’s where the label Jete cabaret comes from.”
“I’ve always loved burlesque,” Drea says. “It’s that powerful space where women need to sit,” she shares with Jaz. “We live in a world where we’re crucified for the very thing we’re told to be you don’t wanna be matronly. You wanna be sexy.
Drea continued: “You need to take care of yourself. That’s how you get a man. But then when you wear too many lashes, you got on too much makeup, revealing too much. Now you look like a whore. We live in a world that teaches men they should have Virgin whores. You gotta be pure as the driven snow, but you better get your Meg, the stallion on too. It’s like, which one is it?”
Drea reveals, “I created a show for women where they could go see other women, especially of color, be beautiful, be sensual, be sexy and titillate and tease, and like live in that woman’s space. That thing that makes us so beautiful and men want us in the first place is that woman part of us. But where do we go to see that celebrated? Especially here in Atlanta, this is strip club capital. And listen, don’t nobody slide in my DMS, nothing against strippers, get your money, grow, get your money. I’m not mad at you, but we still need to have balance. So there still needs to place be a place where we can go to still see women be beautiful and sexy and celebrate the woman and the goddess. And it doesn’t necessarily have to come down to being totally nude.”
Reality star Joseline Hernandez had a burlesque and cabaret show on WE TV filled with drama, beef and some straight-up stripping on the pole. Drea says hers is completely different and there definitely won’t be any backroom dances going on.
“This is no shade,” explains Drea, “but a real, formerly trained classically trained dancer. I think before you can put cabaret and burlesque on something you need to be a dancer. In our show, you see boas, you see evening gowns, garter belts, thigh highs, and stilettos, and it really is the strip tease. It is art. It is getting into the mind and creating this space and keeping it sexy and very demure at the same time. The difference between stripping and burlesque also is you cannot show your Ariola. So you have to keep your pasties on. It really is the element of dance. You will see elements of ballet, jazz, Bob Fosse, jazz and African.”
Drea is staying out of the drama with her ex R. Kelly and one of his alleged victims Joycelyn Savage who are engaged, according to court documents. Savage, 26, penned a letter to the federal judge, referring to herself as Robert Kelly’s fiancée, asking that Kelly receive a more lenient sentence for his decades-long sexual abuse of women and underage girls and boys.
“I’m writing this letter in support of Robert in advance of his sentencing, so I can explain to the court that I’m not the victim that the government has portrayed me to be.” She called him an “all-around incredible person” and “not the monster that the government has described him to be.” “Robert and I are deeply in love and it breaks my heart that the government has created a narrative that I’m a victim. I’m a grown woman and can speak for myself which is why I wanted to provide this letter,” Savage wrote
“It’s not my life. So who am I to have any type of opinion,” Drea comments. “What I feel about it, what she should have done, what she shouldn’t have done. We will never know what she has to deal with, what she goes through and why she made the decision she’s making. All we can do is say whatever you decide, let’s support her and hope that she gets to wherever she needs to be in a healthy space, in a happy space, no matter what that is, that’s how we uplift. No matter what the situation at the end of the day, she didn’t ask me. She didn’t ask you. And she probably didn’t ask the, ask the rest of the world either.”
Drea’s not commenting on a report obtained by Radar Online in which Kelly seems to blame his wife for his sexual depravity saying that his sexual history related to conflict with his ex-wife and subsequent estrangement from his children.
Drea, whose been dragged on social media in the past tells Jaz folks need to get a life.
“There’s a lot of people out here with them gangster thumbs in the Walmart parking lot. What people don’t understand is the venom and the hate that you spew says more about you than the person that you’re putting it upon because you have to have a very dark spirit and a very dark soul to say something hateful to somebody. And then to go ahead and type it in. Most of these people are butt necked, eatin’ peanut butter, living in their mama basement with a flashlight.” she laughs.
Drea was married to R. Kelly from 1996 to 2009 and has spoken openly about the horrible abuse she suffered at her husband’s hands. In 2018 she told “The View” about one alleged abusive incident that occurred in the back of a Hummer vehicle. As he pulled her left arm behind her back, his forearm pushed into her neck, she said
“Robert, you’re going to kill me. I can’t breathe. I just thought, ‘Oh, my God. I’m going to die in the back of this Hummer.’”
In another alleged incident, she said he tied her arms and legs behind her back and left her on the bed before eventually falling asleep.
She has moved on and is coming from a place of strength and joy. How did she overcome it?
“The first thing I wanna tell women is that I’m not happy. I’m joyful because happy changes day to day, joy is your God-given right? What we were born with. When you look at babies, they have so much joy. When they look at bubbles, when they see a butterfly, or just play with a box, they have so much joy. I’m so happy that I didn’t allow anyone to steal my joy. if women can hold on to that, even in the midst of the storm, I always kept my joy, but I also said, damn it saved my life. It was my safe place that I would go to when I was like, okay, God, this is way too much to me. And lastly, I would say, because I know it’s bigger than me. I can have this smile on my face today because I know I survived for a reason. And I used to think, God, why would you do this to me? Why would you choose me? I would go on my prayer closet girl and I’d hear his voice We don’t need all the gory details. We know what that looks like, but what we don’t know is what life is like after.”
Drea travels as an advocate and motivational speaker to empower women who are survivors of domestic violence. One of the big issues for mothers who are in abusive relationships is their children.
R. Kelly is estranged from his three children Andrea says her children Joann, Jaah, and Robert Kelly Jr. made up their own minds about their relationship with their father.
‘I didn’t shield them. That’s why they are who they are today. As a mom, that would be a great disservice from them trying to shield them from a world that is very nasty. That is very cruel. I had to prepare my children for what they would be up against because they would’ve been blindsided. And we live in a world with social media. I can’t control their social media 24 hours a day. And you’d be amazed at how sick some people are that will say things to innocent children that have nothing to do with it. But my children also know their life is their life. Their father’s life is his life.”
“That is his journey. You will be judged on your character, your merit, what you bring into this world, the energy you put out is what you are going to get back. I have been preparing them since the day I left because I wanted them to know. And for my son, I wanted him to know what healthy relationships look like and how you treat a woman. And for my daughters, I wanted them to know what healthy relationships look like and what to look for in a man, and what you don’t have to deal with. Period. Don’t care who it is. ”
Drea is excited about her life and her work including the cabaret that is setting Atlanta on fire. There’s nobody special in her life right now but stay tuned.
“Keeping God center, really bring him center in your life. Self-love, self-care, really getting into taking care of this temple, taking care of your goddess and you know what shutting the outside world out. It’s about you. “
You can catch the full conversation in the video at the top. And please don’t forget to subscribe to Jazmyn Summers’ YouTube.