Music boss Damon Dash has spoken out about R Kelly’s relationship with then-underage singer Aaliyah in clips from the forthcoming documentary Surviving R Kelly Part II: The Reckoning.
The record executive and former manager of Jay-Z was interviewed for the follow-up to the 2019 documentary detailing sexual abuse allegations against R Kelly.
Dash claims Aaliyah attempted to distance herself from Kelly after their secret 1994 marriage, which took place when she was just 15 and he was 27. Kelly was recently charged with bribing an Illinois government official in order to obtain a fake ID for Aaliyah, who was illegally married to Kelly for six months before her parents annulled the marriage.
“If people would’ve protected Aaliyah, so many other girls wouldn’t have gotten touched,” Dash said. “Aaliyah was, like, the sacrificial lamb for all that because she didn’t deserve none of that. Good soul. Good girl. And [she] wasn’t even so resentful, like, ‘Let that man live but just keep him the f*** away from me.’ That’s all she wanted. She was just happy to be away.”
Dash was in a relationship with Aaliyah for a year until she died in a 2001 plane crash at the age of 22.
He blames the media and those who worked with Kelly for focussing on the controversial marriage and therefore failing to recognise Kelly’s abusive behaviour.
“I know the whole story,” Dash said. “I know it was the cover-up and all of that. But how did that cover it up? It just made the conversation, ‘Oh, he married a child?’ That was a headline! That was a rumour. That was something talked about like it was normal. It wasn’t like, ‘Ew, disgusting, you married a  year old.’ It was like, ‘Oh, he married Aaliyah?'”
Kelly has entered not guilty pleas to more than a dozen sex-crime charges filed against him since February 2019.