R&B singer Sparkle, who has been speaking out against R. Kelly for decades, is breathing a sigh of relief following the 54-year-old’s sex crimes convictions on Monday. Speaking with The Cut, Sparkle said she covered her eyes and bawled with joy when she learned about the verdict.
The artist, who is legally known as Stephanie Edwards, has been one of the leading advocates for survivors in the past 20 years as the Trapped In The Closet artist remained at the center of harrowing accusations.
Sparkle has long asserted that her niece was abused by Kelly. While the survivors have now found justice, Sparkle said she still feels guilty for introducing her niece to Kelly in 1997. She remains haunted by a video which showed Kelly urinating on Sparkle’s then-14-year-old niece.
“I was horrified and disgusted,” the musician told The Cut. “I needed to act quickly, and that’s what I did.”
Sparkle has since used several platforms to speak out against the disgraced artist. On Monday, upon hearing the singer had been convicted, she became overwhelmed.
“I didn’t think I would be emotional. But I am. It’s just been a long time for me, dealing with this,” she said. “On the one hand, I think I’m a little sad because Robert was my ex-mentor and what he did was just a punch to my chest. And I’m also relieved. Thank God they got it right this time.”
The 46-year-old said she remembers when testified at the first trial many years ago and nobody believed her. She hopes that many of the girls, boys and women affected by the crimes are now breathing the sigh of relief she is.
“There’s finally some justice, though we have to wait and see what the sentence is. I was the Lone Ranger at first, and now I have my riders behind me,” Sparkle said.
As Blavity previously reported, a federal jury found Kelly guilty on all counts of racketeering and sex trafficking charges. The “I Believe I Can Fly” singer will be sentenced on May 4. He could face decades in prison.