Tiffany Hawkins was the first girl who publicly accused singer R. Kelly of sexual abuse, and the first in a long line of alleged victims to come forward over the last few decades.
“It should have ended with Tiffany Hawkins, victim number one, patient zero, the first girl who sued Kelly for sexual contact that started when she was 15 in 1991,” Jim DeRogatis, the author of "Soulless: the Case Against R. Kelly" says in "Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning,” the three-night special event on Lifetime which premieres Thursday.
The series gives more insight into R. Kelly’s life and the accusations against him. It features new interviews with alleged victims. One such victim was Hawkins.
She was a young aspiring singer when she met R. Kelly at age 15 in Chicago, where she was born and raised.
In the series, she described herself as shy. But, to her, singing was a way to express herself.
“I always knew I wanted to sing,” she says in the series. “It was an outlet for me.”
She was in choir up until high school. Her music teacher, Dr. Lena McLin, even told her that she reminded her of Whitney Houston.
While she aspired to be a singer, Hawkins explains in the new series that she began staying out on the street when she was a teen, which she attributed to problems at home. She says her mom’s boyfriend was physically abusing her, and that her mom wasn’t as supportive or protective as she would have liked.
When Hawkins was a sophomore she met R. Kelly with a friend. The two were on a bus when they spotted his car so they ran out to chat with him, she recalls. She says he gave her his home address, told her to come over and bring his friends.
Hawkins says she complied and brought some of her buddies to his home. While there, she sang him a Mariah Carey song and says that the singer “fell out of his chair” when she hit a high note.
That’s not all that happened that evening. She claims that her friends were all in R. Kelly's bedroom.
"So, I would go in and out of the room and every time I went in there he was having sex with someone. It turned into a whole orgy.”
She said all the girls were between age 14 and 16.
While she says she found the age gap weird, she explains, “this was a star so for me I thought maybe this was different, maybe this was just how it goes.”
DeRogatis notes in the docu-series that Hawkins told him that R.Kelly used to call her “the cable girl.”
“She said, ‘I hooked him up. I introduced him to six of my other friends who were 15 and they all had sex with Kelly before I ever slept with him.”
Hawkins says in "Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning” that she and R. Kelly had a sibling-like relationship for months before they began engaging in sexual activity.
“He was a great listener,” she recalls, adding “he made me think I could do anything, I could be anything and he was gonna be the person to help make that happen for me.”
Soon, she was with him on a daily basis, she says, adding that R. Kelly helped provide her with food and a place to stay when she didn’t want to be home.
“She had incredible talent,” DeRogatis says. “Kelly promised her a career. That’s every young aspiring young musicians dream. And, instead it was this sick sexual relationship where he is preying on her at age 15 and having her connect him to other 15 year old friends. It sounds like the Manson Family.”
Hawkins sued R. Kelly for $10 million in 1996 for because she “suffered personal injuries and severe emotional harm because she had sex with the singer and he encouraged her to participate in group sex with him and other underage girls,” according to Rolling Stone. That lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed sum two years after it was filed.
While that matter was technically settled, accusations of sexual abuse against R. Kelly only escalated.
"I was the first girl and nobody believes me and after that it continued to happen, again and again and again,” Hawkins says in the docu-series.
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 against him.
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