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'Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning' Dives Into R. Kelly's Own Childhood Abuse

R. Kelly's brothers claim that their sibling was possibly molested by a "neighborhood uncle" in Part II of Lifetime's "Surviving R. Kelly."

By Gina Tron

The first season of “Surviving R. Kelly” not only shined a bright light on the years worth of sexual misconduct allegations made against the controversial "Bump n Grind" singer, but it gave some insight into the sexual abuse that he may have endured himself growing up.

"Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning,” will premiere as a three-night special event on Lifetime beginning Jan. 2, and the first episode takes an even deeper dive into R. Kelly’s disturbing childhood than Part I.

"There was ugliness, there was pain, there was sexual abuse in R. Kelly's upbringing, starting at age 8 through age 14,” Jim DeRogatis, the author of "Soulless: the Case Against R. Kelly" says in the premiere episode. 

DeRogatis goes on to say that he has empathy for what R. Kelly went through as a child but made it clear that “often the victim becomes the defender of other victims. Most often, and occasionally, the victim becomes a victimizer."

R. Kelly has spoken out about being molested as a child before, first in his 2012 memoir “Soulacoaster,” and again in a 2016 interview with GQ, when he revealed that he was molested by a female relative. One of his songs also gives insight into childhood abuse. In his 19-minute-long 2018 song “I Admit,” he sings “I admit a family member touched me, from a child to the age 14.” 

"Surviving R. Kelly" incorporates a clip from a 2012 interview where Kelly said he had been sexually abused for years. 

“I really think it’s a generational curse,” R. Kelly said in that clip.

His younger brother Carey said in episode one that they were both abused by the same female relative. While Carey said he hated the experience, he theorized that R. Kelly “enjoyed it.”  Carey previously claimed that R. Kelly reacted in a disappointing way when he told his famous brother that he had been molested in the first part of “Surviving R. Kelly,” which aired earlier this year.

The second part of the Lifetime series details how R. Kelly was possibly molested by an additional person when he was growing up.

Carey and R. Kelly’s older brother Bruce Kelly said that as kids, the Kelly siblings created a little band. They would practice making music together in a building which is a fond memory for both of them. But, there was a dark presence looming over the location: a man named Eli Henry, who was about 60 at the time, and who lived in the same building as their practice space, according to Bruce.

“Mr. Henry was the neighborhood uncle,” Carey reflects. “Everybody loved him and looked up to him.”

Carey said that Henry would often go out to a farm and then bring back fruit for the neighborhood.

“We just thought he was a cool old man, nice guy,” Carey says.

But he wasn’t so nice, according to the brothers’ allegations.

Carey said one time he and his brothers were at Henry’s home and Henry was only wearing boxers. 

"When he turned around, he had pulled his private part out of his underwear and was holding it in his hand,” Carey recalls. He said he and his brothers ran out of the house. He adds, “We literally fought for our lives to get out of that house.

As they ran out, Carey said he could hear Henry hollering “Don’t tell nobody” at them.

Bruce said one day R. Kelly came home after spending time with Henry, after Henry had “tried some inappropriate things with” R. Kelly. 

Bruce claims that Henry bribed R. Kelly’s mom to remain quiet with $5,000.

R. Kelly, 52, is behind bars, awaiting trial on a series of charges across multiple jurisdictions. He faces a federal trial in Chicago for allegedly conspiring with former employers in his 2008 child pornography trial to pay off witnesses, and a trial in Brooklyn over sexual abuse allegations. He has vehemently denied all allegations.

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