Beyonce’s father and former Destiny’s Child manager Mathew Knowles has claimed he actively kept the chart-topping R&B group away from R Kelly after hearing “some of those things” about the controversial singer.
Kelly, who has faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against women and underage girls over the past two decades, is facing fresh scrutiny following the release of Lifetime’s six-part docuseries Surviving R Kelly. He has consistently denied all of the allegations against him.
Since the documentary was aired in the US, a number of high profile figures in the music industry, from John Legend to Lady Gaga and Chance the Rapper, have spoken out against him.
Knowles, who managed Destiny’s Child in the early stages of their career, claims he repeatedly turned down offers for the group to work with Kelly during the Nineties, when rumours of his alleged behaviour first started.
The 67-year-old, who is the father of Beyonce and Solange, told Metro: “I was there, and my former wife Tina was there. The thing with R Kelly was, he liked to record late at night, around midnight. And what was different with his studio was that one room had a recording suite, and next door was a club, with 40 or 50 people dancing.
“I personally rejected the song because I didn’t think it was a good song. Not just because of [his] reputation – this was around 1998, we had just begun to hear some of those things.”
Asked whether the rumours involving Kelly had an impact on his decisions for the group’s career after that, he replied, “certainly, it was both of those things”.
“The girls were 15, 16,” he said. “When they went to the bathroom, Tina would go with them. They did not leave our eyes.”
Beyonce, Kelly Rowland and LeToya Luckett for additional comment.
Destiny’s Child only recorded one song that was written by Kelly (“Stimulate Me”), which appeared on the soundtrack for Eddie Murphy’s 1999 film Life. However, Kelly apparently did not work in the studio at the same time as the group, and the song never appeared as an official Destiny’s Child release.
Currently multiple sources in US media, Kelly is facing an investigation by a Georgia prosecutor over the allegations made in the documentary.