Ronnie and Shamari DeVoe have decades in the music industry between them, with both enjoying successful careers with Bell Biv DeVoe and Blaque.
And despite their experience, they, too, were shocked by some of the facts revealed in Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly docuseries that debuted last week. The six-part documentary chronicles decades of R. Kelly’s alleged sexual misconduct and abuse, which he has continuously denied. With more than 50 interviews with Kelly’s victims, it’s hard for many to continue ignoring his widely documented abuse.
On this week’s episode of ESSENCE’s Yes, Girl! podcast, the couple opened up to ESSENCE editors and podcast hosts, Yolanda Sangweni, Cori Murray and Charli Penn about their experience watching the widely talked about documentary, and how R. Kelly’s actions will affect the lives of so many people.
“He has to be held accountable,” Ronnie said. “Ultimately God is gonna put something on him so that he has to face what he’s put people through…like he’s not only tearing families down and apart, but just think about these young women that are gonna be broken and in a place that they’re changed forever…”
Ronnie added that watching the series with his wife made him aware of how easy it is for predators to go after young children.
“I thought about my sons as well. I can’t just put them in anybody’s hands,” he said. “Like you have to be aware of who you’re allowing your kids to be around.”
Shamari was just leaving teenagehood when her group Blaque worked with R. Kelly on their first single and hit “808.” And the Real Housewives of Atlanta star admits that she was one of the lucky ones.
“I was a young girl. We got our first record deal when I was 17 and then R. Kelly actually produced and wrote our first single 808. So I met him when I was 19,” she said.
“Thank God he didn’t try anything with me, but I feel really sorry for the women that have beenhis victims, like have been sexually harassed and it’s really sad,” she continued. “He needs to be put under the jail. He needs to pay for what he’s done.”
Listen to the full episode below