Lifetime's Surviving R. Kelly is a powerful docuseries that brought even more attention to an open secret in the music industry that folks have alleged for quite some time: R. Kelly is a predator — especially when it comes to underage girls.
The documentary has brought several of the R&B singer's victims forward to discuss their relationship with the man, along with those close to the artist. Like his brother, Bruce, who is currently serving time in prison. But why is he locked up?
Many assumed that Bruce's tenure in prison had something to do with R. Kelly's alleged criminal activities, which were delineated in great detail in the docuseries. Multiple victims claimed that the performer groomed girls from a very young age and even set up carefully guarded housing situations for the young women in Chicago and Atlanta.
The singer recently pled guilty to a litany of charges, including racketeering and sex trafficking.
The confirmation of the charges is still surprising, even when one considers performance videos like these where the singer invites 18-year-old girls on stage to "play house" with him, mainly due to the nature of his grooming process. The singer allegedly also kept 14-year-olds as "sex slaves" in his privately owned housing units. The case is such a high profile one that different districts, like Chicago and Brooklyn, are fighting over who gets to prosecute him first.
Why is R. Kelly's brother in prison?
Many assumed that the R&B singer's elder sibling had played a part in the grooming process of young women as to the reason why he was incarcerated, due to what he said in his on-camera interview for the series premiere of the documentary.
Wearing a prison uniform (because he was in jail) during his interview, Bruce's comments led viewers to believe that he was mitigating R. Kelly's crimes against women.
Mainly because he referred to his brother's attraction toward younger girls as a personal preference and not a severe, or criminal, (which it is) issue. He likened it to a fetish — and many assumed that if Bruce was stating that on camera, that he probably made his own brother, in private, feel like there was nothing wrong with his predatory behavior.
Despite being a potentially significant enabler of R. Kelly's obsession with statutory rape, Bruce was imprisoned for other charges.
The singer's older brother has an extensive rap sheet that includes burglary, drug possession, violating his probation, and other crimes. Most recently, he was admitted into the Vandalia Correctional Center in July of 2017 and sentenced to two to four years in prison. He was found guilty of taking part in a burglary. He was also charged with theft and possession in October of 2016, along with criminal trespassing and driving without a license in June of 2017.
In 2015, Bruce was charged with drug possession as well and many predicted that he would be out of prison come December of 2019. But as of this writing, according to Heavy.com, he's still serving time.
If anyone on their parole hearings watched the documentary, however, Bruce might not be doing himself any favors with some of the statements he made.
"You have people who have fantasies about different things. I like older women, go figure, you know. But that’s just a preference. Everyone has preferences. So what is the big deal? What is the big issue with my brother?"
Bruce also said that the way he and his brothers treat women is very similar. The way he speaks about it, however, sounds like straight-up emotional abuse.
"Me and my brothers, we all have our ways with our girls. We’re very jealous guys. We don’t want our girls doing certain things, [you’re] not gon’ see our girls talking too much to people, that’s just the way we are," People reported.
Bruce has yet to clarify his comments he made in the docu-series or apologize for them. Both him and R. Kelly are currently serving time in separate correctional facilities.