Diane Haughton, the mother of the late R&B singer Aaliyah, has something to say.
On Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019, Haughton released a statement via the Aaliyah for MAC Instagram account to hit back against disturbing claims made about artist R. Kelly’s alleged relationship with her daughter in the new Lifetime docuseries, Surviving R. Kelly.
“The woman and so-called back up singer in the forthcoming Surviving… documentary that describes seeing, meeting or ever breathing the same air as my daughter, Aaliyah, is lying and a liar,” Haughton began her lengthy statement. “My husband and I were always on tour with her and at interviews and every place she went throughout her entire career. Whoever this woman is, I have never seen her before anywhere on planet earth, until now.”
She continued, “These lies and fabrications cannot be tolerated and allowed to be spewed from the forked tongues of saboteurs of Aaliyah’s legacy. My daughter only wanted to realize her dream of sharing her talent with the world, and give her all performing on stage, and in front of the camera for the fans she adored so much.” She added, “She realized that dream thanks to those true fans who still love and support her legacy unconditionally to this day.”
“Shame on all those involved in this project who thought it kosher to drag Aaliyah’s name into a situation that has nothing to do with her today,” Haughton concluded. “Once again this will not be tolerated.”
As Nicki Swift previously reported, the former backup singer in question, Jovante Cunningham, claimed to have seen R. Kelly engage in a sexual act with his reported mentee, Aaliyah, while on tour for her Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number album in the mid-’90s. At the time of the alleged incident, R. Kelly (real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly) would have been 27, while Aaliyah (full name Aaliyah Dana Haughton) was just 15 years old.
“We were out on the road with Aaliyah,” Cunningham said in episode one of Surviving R. Kelly (via People magazine). “On a tour bus, there really aren’t many confined spaces. When you get on the bus there are bunks and so these bunks have little curtains you can pull at night if you don’t want anybody to see you sleeping.”
Cunningham went on to claim, “So it just so happened we were all laying in our bunks and the curtains are open, everybody’s communicating, laughing … When the [room] door flew open on the bus. Robert was having sex with Aaliyah.” After describing what she allegedly witnessed as “things that an adult should not be doing with a child,” she said, “I can’t stress to you how people are still suffering behind things that went on 20 years ago.”
Readers are most likely already aware that R. Kelly is no stranger to disturbing allegations of sexual abuse and sexual misconduct. As Nicki Swift previously reported, the self-proclaimed King of R&B, now 52, was most notably accused of controlling women by running a sex cult in 2017. However, he later denied the claims. Additionally, while he and Aaliyah were long-rumored to have tied the knot when she was 15, R. Kelly’s former personal assistant, Demetrius Smith, claimed that his boss had also gotten Aaliyah pregnant in Surviving R. Kelly.
“That broke my heart right there because I really believed him when he said that he wasn’t messing with Aaliyah,” Smith said (via People). “Once he told me that I was at a loss for words.” He went on to admit, “I was in the room when they got married. I’m not proud of that. I had papers forged for them when Aaliyah was underaged. It was just a quick little ceremony … She looked worried and scared.” The alleged marriage was reportedly annulled the following year. According to Smith, “Her parents had the last say.”
At the time of this writing, R. Kelly has yet to publicly comment on these particular claims. However, he previously denied his alleged marriage with Aaliyah, who tragically died in a plane crash in 2001 at the age of 22 (via People). While speaking with GQ magazine in 2016, R. Kelly claimed that he and Aaliyah were just “best friends.” However, he noted that he “will never have that conversation with anyone.”
Surviving R. Kelly featured interviews with a number of R. Kelly’s family members, friends, colleagues, and survivors of his alleged abuse. According to E! News, an investigation into the allegations made against the singer was launched following the conclusion of the six-part docuseries on Saturday, Jan. 5.