R. Kelly‘s daughter, Joann Kelly, seemingly has had to deal with the mistakes of her famous father in the midst of crafting her own musical pathway. During a radio interview, the artist who goes by Buku Abi opened up about life as the daughter of the disgraced and incarcerated R&B singer, found guilty of sexual exploitation of a minor, human trafficking and other charges.
Atlanta’s Magic 107.5 shared a clip from the station’s interview on Instagram, where Abi revealed that she missed out on numerous opportunities, as well as record deals due to her father’s decisions. “Absolutely, simply based on my last name,” she said.
She continued, “Music is my first passion. I love music. I’m a singer…songwriter. Like I love music.” The “Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta” star recalled writing her first song as a 13-year-old, and since then she’s struggled to maintain her own identity in the music industry.
“From 13 to 24, I have been trying to get into the Industry and all those years, it’s either been, ‘You’re getting it because of who your dad is’ or ‘You’re not getting it because of who your dad is,’ ” she revealed. “I’ve been this close to a record deal, and when they found out who I was, it got swiped away.”
Abi’s music catalog consists of two albums, 2019’s “Don’t Call Me” and “Cheers to You, Shadow” in 2020, and a slew of R&B-pop-inspired tracks. The young artist initially opened up about the stress around her father’s crimes on WE tv’s “Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta” in 2019. She is the oldest of three children Kelly shares with his ex-wife, Andrea Kelly. Her brothers, Kyd, born Robert Kelly Jr, and Jaah, also appeared in the series.
Fans in the comments section sympathized with Abi for not receiving recognition over her music and being penalized for her father’s actions. One person said, “I can’t imagine being turned away because of who I’m related too… if the talent is there why penalize her for being born.”
Another wrote, “That’s not fair, she has absolutely nothing to do with that man and his crimes.”
After showering her with supportive words, a handful encouraged Abi to go the independent route, using social media to maximize her fanbase and exposure.
“This day and age you don’t need a record deal to make it. Go independent and hit social media.
“Ma’am if your music is good the people will flock to it. Get on Social media and just start singing.”
“Go independent forget the record companies a lot of artist are successful via social media.”
“She should ghost write until they fall in love with her music.”
“Okay be independent I’m sure your dad has advice over that phone about music.”
In 2008, a jury acquitted the artist born Robert Kelly of child pornography charges over a graphic video that prosecutors said displayed him having sex with a 13-year-old girl. In September 2021, he was found guilty of nine counts in a federal Brooklyn court, including charges of racketeering, sexual exploitation of children, kidnapping and forced labor, as previously reported.
And two months ago, the 55-year-old was sentenced to three decades in prison for the New York case. He is currently on trial for child pornography and obstruction of justice charges in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois.