R. Kelly's Daughter Jaah Kelly Explains Why She Was Fearful To Come Out As Transgender At 14 Years Old, How Her Sexual Identity Has Evolved
In a recent interview, Kelly says she now identifies as a lesbian: "I know I like girls, but that's as far as I'll go to label myself."
Jaah Kelly, R. Kelly’s second child, admitted in a recent interview she was afraid after she publicly came out as transgender a few years ago.
Jaah sat down with Paper Magazine to discuss her life and identity. The 18-year-old famously came out as a transgender boy when she was 14 years old.
“When I posted that video, I was so scared,” she explained “When I was younger, I always felt like I had to make a choice. I knew that I was a girl who liked other girls. But because of what I was taught, I felt like the only way you could like another girl is if you were a boy.”
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Nowadays, Jaah’s identity is more fluid.
"I identify as a lesbian, I know I like girls, but that's as far as I'll go to label myself," Jaah said. "It's up to you how you see me. Either way, I don't care. I stand in my truth, and why does my truth need a label?"
Unlike many other LGBTQ teens, Jaah has a supportive family. Her mother, Drea, was unphased when her daughter came out.
"I remember when Jaah first came out to me when she was 10 years old. She thought, 'Oh Mama, I was scared to tell you because I didn't think you would love me," Drea recalls.
"But the unconditional love of a mother is like that of God. There is nothing you could do to earn it and there is nothing you could ever do to lose it. I told her, 'I love you because you're mine, not because of your orientation. I'm always gonna be here to protect you.' Meantime, live that best life, and live it out loud and in color. Who gives a damn what anybody else thinks?"
Jaah’s sister, Buku Abi, also loves her sibling no matter what.
"He's my little one and I adore her," Abi said.
Jaah’s famous father was barely mentioned in this interview. R. Kelly wasn’t happy when an interviewee brought up his “transgender son” in 2014, according to Daily Mail.
“You don't really wanna open it up by saying my daughter is becoming my son,” he said at the time. The troubled singer later blamed the media for spreading what he believed to be false information.
“Don't even give the blogs that kind of credit. You know what I'm saying? Real talk,” Kelly continued.
“But as far as that is concerned. Always believe what you see with your own eyes that is. Always believe what you see. That is the best way to go about this business.”
Jaah doesn’t talk to her father, but they have something in common: music. She knows how to play the clarinet and trumpet and is a self-taught pianist.
"I'm always like, 'I mean, yeah, I sing a little,' but it's not that simple. I just use my voice," Jaah, who identifies as a “vocalist,” said. "It's like my name, Jaah, which can be male, female, whatever. That's also literally on my birth certificate. Music to me is the same way. It can be whatever you want it to be."
Her mother is genuinely impressed by Jaah’s abilities.
“One thing she gets from her father, true in her DNA, is her ability to create and produce by ear,” Drea said. “She's entirely self-taught. When she wanted to learn piano, she just came to me one day and told me she taught herself how on YouTube. The same goes for making beats. To have my JaahBaby [Jaah's artist name] doing what she does in a male-dominated industry makes her all the more extraordinary in my eyes."