Essence magazine has a very long conversation with Lisa Van Allen, who you will recall was the woman who testified she had had a number of threesomes with Kelly and the allegedly under-age girl police said was on the sex tape at the center of the case. Lots of very poignant stuff here. Like this:
Essence.com: So how did you go from being an extra [at a video shoot in Atlanta] to meeting him personally?
Van Allen: He sent his cousin over to me. This guy told me his cousin wanted to talk to me. I asked him who his cousin was, and he said, â€œR. Kelly.â€ I said, â€œOkay,â€ and he arranged for me to be taken back to his trailer. In between the scenes, he came back to the trailer and talked to me. I was very flattered. Out of all the girls at the video shoot, he picked me out of everybody to talk to. We ended up having intercourse.
Essence.com: You had sex with him in the trailer that same day?
Van Allen: Yes. He started with a kiss, and from there we leaned back, and I just didnâ€™t stop him. I was kind of worried that he wouldnâ€™t want to see me again after that, but I wasnâ€™t worried about the actual act at that time because I was just honored that he picked me. Being a young girl, I was like, â€œWow.â€ I wasnâ€™t thinking as a woman would.
Essence.com: Is it true that you got pregnant by R. Kelly and had an abortion?
Van Allen: Yes. I had the abortion in 2000, right before the â€œI Wishâ€ video shoot. I was the one braiding his hair in that video. When I told him I was pregnant, he asked me what did I want to do, and I told him I wanted to get an abortion.
(The story includes a denial from one of Kelly’s lawyers. Another of his young girlfriends has said she got an abortion after an alliance with him; this woman was under-age at the time.)
Essence.com: In retrospect, do you feel that your relationship with him was damaging to you?
Van Allen: Yeah. As you can see, it still bothers me when I think about what went on. Itâ€™s emotionally stressful just knowing how I felt, how vulnerable I was. How I wanted him to love me and accept me. I didnâ€™t want to get him mad at me. And I didnâ€™t know what real love was. He was the first man I had ever dealt withâ€”I was 17 when I met him, I hadnâ€™t dealt with men before. I really didnâ€™t know what I was getting myself into.
Essence.com: If these allegations are true, some people have suggested that you are just as reprehensible as R. Kelly isâ€”that you also were having sex with an underage girl. What is your response to that?
Van Allen: I didnâ€™t know that she was 14. He left me in the dark just like everybody else was in the dark. People hear that Iâ€™m 27, and they think that I was an adult when it happened. They donâ€™t realize that I was coming in to being a young woman. I didnâ€™t know her real age. I didnâ€™t know the truth.
Essence.com: Why do you think nobody else in R. Kellyâ€™s circle has come forward about him and teenage girls?
Van Allen: Because they donâ€™t want people to look at them in the wrong light, like how theyâ€™ve done me. You see how this case went. It was supposed to be about him, but when I came out, they just switched it all over to me.
Essence.com: The allegations and the video havenâ€™t put a dent in R. Kellyâ€™s career. He still has droves of devoted fans, and his albums still top the charts. Why do you think so few people seem to care about this issue?
Van Allen: Itâ€™s like no one wants to step up and take responsibility for whatâ€™s happening. I have no idea why more people donâ€™t want to get involved and put themselves out there for our children. I guess if it was closer to home, maybe they would. If it was their child or their sister. But it shouldnâ€™t be that way.
The first page of the interview is here.
The second page, the link to which is a little hard to find, is here.