Things That Matter

Victim In The R. Kelly Documentary Sequel Says He Made Her Commit To A Suicide Pact

Since the beginning of the #MeToo movement, people all over the country have found the courage to speak up about their experiences with sexual assault. This sense of empowerment has taken various forms, even resulting in the release of several shocking docuseries, like HBO’s Leaving Neverland and Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly. While Leaving Neverland consisted of just two harrowing episodes, Surviving R. Kelly offers a broad glimpse into the singer’s criminal past, spanning three separate installments of six troubling episodes.

The second season, Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning, is set to premiere on January 2, 2020, and the trailer is full of deeply disturbing details.

Credit: Lifetime / Youtube

The trailer for the new season not only introduces new victims, but follows up with victims from Part I. Many of the women and their family members describe death threats they received after the release of Part I, as well as how they’ve managed to cope with the backlash. The four-minute video features victim Jerhonda Pace, who alleges that she was a part of a forced suicide pact of women who pledged to kill themselves if R. Kelly were to ever end up in prison. And the trailer ends with Dominique Gardner, R. Kelly’s live-in girlfriend who was rescued in Part I, who is ready to share her story.

During its debut in February of this year, Surviving R. Kelly had more than 26 million viewers and was the #1 trending topic on Twitter. Allegations against him have circulated since 1991, so talk about R. Kelly’s predatory behavior is nothing new—the difference now is that the world is finally taking his victims seriously. The Lifetime documentary has much to do with this paradigm shift: featuring accounts from 48 different women who were victimized by R. Kelly over the course of several decades, the documentary offers undeniable evidence that R. Kelly has been a dangerous force in the industry for far too long.

One of the most notable red flags of R. Kelly’s career appeared when he married the late singer Aaliyah. At the time, she was just 15 years old, and the world had to wonder: how did that happen? In the US, it is illegal to marry anyone under the age of 18 without a parent’s consent, and even then, 15 years old is still legally considered too young—plus, Aaliyah’s family absolutely did not consent to the marriage. It took until last month, 25 years later, for R. Kelly to be prosecuted for bribing an Illinois government employee on August 30, 1994, to obtain a fake ID that claimed Aaliyah was 18.

Although their marriage was later annulled at the request of Aaliyah’s family, Kelly’s behavior signaled a pattern of sexually exploiting underage girls that would persist over the next 20 years.

Credit: The Source

And the entertainment industry would turn a blind eye to Kelly’s influence for just as long. Until the release of Surviving R. Kelly, his behavior was often the subject of jokes and pop culture references, rather than being seen as a serious threat to the safety of several dozen women and girls. In 2002, when that famous video of him sexually engaging with (and urinating on) an underage girl came to light, he was indicted on 21 counts of child pornography—yet none of these charges resulted in convictions. Really, R. Kelly’s misconduct has never been a secret, but Surviving R. Kelly has led to justice for his victims, with a long list of criminal charges finally culminating in his arrest.

Yet R. Kelly has vehemently denied these allegations of abuse and manipulation. In case you missed it, he became emotionally unhinged during an interview with Gayle King of “CBS This Morning,” raising his voice, pounding his chest and crying when King challenges his claims. When asked why he chose to participate in the interview, he said, “I’m very tired of all the lies,” and insisted that he had “absolutely not” broken any laws when it “came to relationships with girls.” He claimed that everyone in the documentary “was describing Lucifer,” and that he “is not Lucifer,” before unleashing an explosive rant about what a good heart he has and insisting on his innocence.

“I have been assassinated,” he told King. “I’ve been buried alive.”

A conversation about R. Kelly’s attempt to convince viewers of his innocence emerged shortly after the interview aired, with Boston Globe columnist Renee Graham telling CBS News that in the interview, R. Kelly “came off as someone trying to manipulate the audience the way he has allegedly manipulated these women.” The second season of Surviving R. Kelly will focus more on this perspective, not only featuring new women with new allegations, but also psychologists, cultural experts and legal experts who might be able to offer insight on R. Kelly’s skewed perspective and the criminal consequences that await him.

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Alaina Castillo’s New TikTok Video Is Empowering People To Embrace Their Latinidad

Culture

Alaina Castillo’s New TikTok Video Is Empowering People To Embrace Their Latinidad

Not everyone has the privilege of growing up surrounded by their cultura, with parents there to pass on knowledge of traditions and customs from home. That, combined with heavily opinionated internet trolls, has led to many people struggling to feel confident in their identity. In a digital world that tries to force us all to fit into boxes, what does “Latino enough” mean and how do you know if you’re there?

Recently, we asked our Instagram community “what does being Latino mean to you?” and although some responses had details in common, for the most part they were as unique as every member of the community itself. There is no one definition of Latinidad, and therefore there is no way to measure what exactly makes someone “Latino enough.”

We got the chance to talk to Alaina Castillo, musical artist and TikTok Queen, about how she identifies with Latinidad and what this TikTok video means to her.

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Checklists don’t define you so don’t ever let anyone tell you you’re not enough! 😤@alainacastillo #AreYouLatinoEnough #FamiliaLatina #hhm #orgullo

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What does being Latina mean to you? – mitú

“It means that I have something to identify with and be proud of because of my family members, my culture, and the things that I participate in as a Latina.” – A.C.

Side note, this was a personal reminder that we represent the community wherever we occupy space, whether we realize it or not. We are all participating in things as members of the community.

What’s something that, as a Latina, you are proud of? – mitú

“The strength and endurance that we have. I’ve seen it in my dad, his family, and so many others and it makes me feel proud as well as encouraged to achieve my goals with the same mindset as them.” – A.C.

While they may not be perfect (and let’s face it, who is?), our parents are the definition of hard working. Remembering that their blood runs through my veins always keeps me going when the going gets tough. Si se puede!

What Latino figures inspire you? – mitú

“Selena, even though she was an artist that I didn’t really grow up listening to. When I found out who she was, she was someone who I related to because she was a Mexican-American learning to speak and sing in Spanish, while breaking a lot of barriers that people had set up around her.” – A.C.

La Reina del Tex-Mex was a trailblazer indeed! Who else could forget Selena’s iconic “diecicuatro” blurb when she appeared in an interview with Cristina Saralegui? The important thing to focus on is that she was TRYING! As long as we’re all working on improving and being the best versions of ourselves, that’s the best we can do, and it’s okay to make mistakes along the way.

IMAGE COURTESY OF ALAINA CASTILLO

Name one meal that, no matter where you have it, always reminds you of home. – mitú

“Homemade tamales!!!! 100%” – A.C.

You know we love some good tamales, so naturally our next question was…

Where is your family from? – mitú

“My dad is from Mexico and my mom is from Ohio.” – A.C.

Mmmm…Mexican tamales 😋

Have you ever been to those places? – mitú

“Yes, both places. I went to Mexico when I was really young, maybe about two times, and then I’ve traveled to Ohio on various occasions to see family. I was young each time I went to those places so they’re little memories I think of when I miss my family.” – A.C.

What would you say is the most “Latino” item in your home? – mitú

“We have these blankets from my grandma that I grew up using. I thought they were normal blankets but then I saw on social media that almost every Latino household has some and I was like hmmm, what do you know?” – A.C.

IMAGE COURTESY OF ALAINA CASTILLO

What would you say to people who think that not speaking Spanish makes you less Latino? – mitú

“I think it’d definitely be nice to know the language fluently but some people aren’t taught Spanish growing up and that’s not their fault. Not speaking the language doesn’t mean that they don’t have the same customs or should be rejected from the culture that their family is from. I decided to learn on my own because I’ve always been interested in Spanish, and also so I could speak with my family and I see that’s what a lot of other people are doing too.” – A.C.

One more time for the people in the back: not speaking Spanish doesn’t make you any less Latino.

How do you celebrate your Latinidad? – mitú

“With pride. I wouldn’t be who I am today without influences from my family so it’ll always be something I carry with me and proudly show throughout my life and career.” – A.C.

What do you hope people take away from this trend? – mitú

“That Latinidad is something you’re born with and it can’t ever be taken away from you,” – A.C.

So forget about the opinions of other people! All they’re doing is projecting their beliefs onto you and that is not an actual reflection of who you are. We hope you are inspired to embrace your Latinidad on your own terms, and that you walk more confidently in your identity. So duet us on TikTok and don’t forget to use the hashtag #AreYouLatinoEnough to join in on the fun!

Did we mention quarantine has not stopped Alaina Castillo from dropping new music? Check out her latest single, “tonight,” below!

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Mariah Carey Admits Her Divorce From Nick Cannon Got Messy Because Of Egos And Emotions

Entertainment

Mariah Carey Admits Her Divorce From Nick Cannon Got Messy Because Of Egos And Emotions

Kevin Winter / Getty

Updated September 29, 2020.

Mariah Carey’s personal life has always been about as elusive as the chanteuse’s voice itself. Throughout her decades-long career, fans of the singer have wondered about the men who fall at her feet. From her two marriages to different engagements, even a mysterious potential romantic tête-à-tête with Eminem, Carey has had a life filled with all kinds of loves and relationships but for the most part, kept her lips sealed about them.

Now, the singer is opening up about them in her new book.

In her new book, The Meaning of Mariah Carey, the singer shared how her marriage with Cannon fell apart.

In her new book, Carey recalls how she never planned on being a mother before she finally met Cannon and his ″perpetual teen spirit.” At the time the “We Belong Together” singer says that she was not in any way experiencing baby fever but her feelings changed soon after the two artists got together. ″Our desire to have children became a force of nature and why we got married so quickly,” Carey wrote in her book.

Carey and Cannon got together while shooting her music video for her song “Bye Bye” and married two months later in The Bahamas. Just a few years after, Carey gave birth to their fraternal twins, Moroccan and Monroe, on April 30, 2011. In 2014, the couple announced that they had called it quits and finalized their divorce in 2016.

Carey described meeting Cannon during the Teen Choice Awards when he presented her with a surfboard award.

In her book, she recalled that she had heard the comedian had ″all these nice things″ to say about her. Soon after he told her ″With a genuine beaming smile and a flame in his eyes… ‘If you give me a chance, I’ll prove all of it is true,’″ Carey wrote describing it as ″A cute moment—very.”

Carey explained that unlike her first marriage with Tommy Mottola, she and Cannon shared a power dynamic that “felt even″ and shared that Cannon made her feel “safe.”

″He was a good guy. He was faith-based. He was ambitious,″ she wrote. ″He had been in the entertainment industry for a long time, so he understood the madness. He paid attention to me.”

Ultimately Carey says that the divorce took two years to finalize because ″honestly, I think Nick and I could have worked it out between the two of us, but egos and emotions got inflamed (which can translate into many billable lawyer hours, and ultimately it did)… It was tough. We both wanted to make sure everything was cool for our family. We will always be family, and we make it work.″

Fortunately, according to Carey’s book, the two remain amicable these days and manage to co-parent their children with love.

Earlier this month, in an exclusive clip from The Oprah Conversation, Carey revealed that a relationship with New York Yankee Derek Jeter in the late ’90s led her to leave her ex Tommy Mottola.

Speaking about Jeter, Carey described him as a “catalyst” in her decision to leave Mottola after being married to him for five years.

“Before you divorced Tommy Mottola, you met Yankee baseball player Derek Jeter, and you say he served a very high purpose in your life,” Oprah observes in her interview with Carey which calls on her upcoming memoir The Meaning of Mariah Carey. “This was one of those situations of the right person at the right place and the right time. What was it about Derek? He got his own song too, right?”

Responding to Oprah’s question, Carey admits “He got his own song. He got a few songs. He was a catalyst that helped me get out of that relationship because I believed that there was somebody else,” she explained “It was the racial situation, his mom is Irish, his dad is Black. But he was also very ambiguous looking to me. I didn’t know who he was, we met and I’ve written songs about it.”

“And honestly, I don’t think it was like, ‘Oh my gosh, he was the love of my life,'” Carey went onto admit. “Like, at the time I did, because I didn’t think I would ever meet anybody who wouldn’t- What’s the word? I used the word, I just thought about this last night. Not looked down on but feel superior to me because of the fact that I’m not one way or another in most people’s minds, and they have preconceived notions, whatever… But he was a catalyst. And I think that it was beautiful.”

Carey revealed that Jeter’s biracial family changed how she felt about her own.

“And they changed my viewpoint that ‘Oh, it’s because of the biracial situation that my family is so screwed up,’ as opposed to ‘it’s them.’ And yes, those things did play a huge part in their dysfunction. But it was healthy for me to see a functional family that basically kind of looked like mine, but didn’t feel like mine,” she admitted. “And he was also living his dream job and doing his dream job. I believe we connected in that way.”

Last month, Carey told Vulture in an interview that she wore a “buttery leather Chanel skirt” the first time she kissed Jeter.

“I can never forget that moment,” she explained. “I mean, it’s not like it was some intensely deep, intellectually stimulating — again, it was a great moment, and it happened in a divine way because it helped me get past living there, in Sing Sing, under those rules and regulations.”

Carey’s new book, which comes out at the end of this month, follows her “her meteoric rise to music superstardom” and the struggles she faced as a result.

“It took me a lifetime to have the courage and clarity to write my memoir. I want to tell the story of the moments,” Carey shared in a July post on Instagram. “The ups and downs, the triumphs and traumas, the debacles and the dreams that contributed to the person I am today.”

The Meaning of Mariah Carey will debut on shelves on Sept. 29.

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