Former R. Kelly Hair Stylist Accuses Singer of Sexual Abuse: "I Say No More"
"This is a release. I’ve been carrying this since 2003," Lanita Carter says during a sit-down interview set to air Thursday on 'CBS This Morning.'
Another R. Kelly accuser has come forward and is speaking out about the abuse she allegedly endured from the singer in a candid discussion, which aired on CBS This Morning Thursday.
Lanita Carter, who, until now, was an anonymous accuser in Kelly’s criminal sexual-abuse case, says she was the disgraced R&B singer’s hair braider for two years. It was during that time period when Carter alleges she was sexually abused by him. Though hesitant to come forward with her history with the singer, Carter says that she no longer feels "ashamed" of her past.
"I was sexually abused by him and I lived after that. I tried to pick up the pieces every day. It’s hard but I’ll know I’ll get through it. I’m not ashamed of my past anymore," Carter said. "This is a release. I’ve been carrying this since 2003," she added as tears streamed down her face.
Carter also explained that it’s been difficult having to listen to people publicly defend Kelly, recalling a time she overheard a conversation between two passengers on a bus saying, “‘Did you hear what they did to R. Kelly? They need to leave that man alone."
"I can’t stand up for myself," Carter said. "When I finally realized I don't want to be the victim, I don't wanna be a part of this, every time I tried to pick myself up again, I felt like something on the news brought me back to what I thought I swept under the rug."
Carter said that by speaking about her alleged experience with the singer, she is saying "no more." She added, "You can talk about me. You can not like what I am saying about your favorite singer, but this is my life. This is my truth. This is what I have. If I die tomorrow, I know that I told the truth."
Carter went on to detail the assault she claims to have suffered at the hands of Kelly more than 16 years ago. "February 18, 2003, I get a phone call to come down and do his hair. When he came to the room and he asked me for that head massage and I told him I didn't do massages. I laughed it off and I didn't know he was for real," she said. "If I could change that day, I wouldn't have been there."
Continued Carter, "He pulled my braid down by him and he said, 'Suck it for daddy, suck it for daddy.' And I said, 'No.' And I did like this [motioning hand down] and he just started going like this, [making spitting noises]. He did it like six times."
Carter said Kelly stopped only after someone knocked on the door of the room they were in.
"He didn't open the door right away. He says, 'Fix your face. Fix your motherfucking face.' I knew that would be my last day there. And I get to the bathroom and I grab the wall and it was a rose-colored towel. I wipe my face. I'm not dressed no type of way," she recounted. "I look at myself in the mirror, like, I'm not a beauty queen. I don't perceive myself to be nothing more than just his hair braider. I just kept thinking to myself, like, 'Why did this happen to me?'"
Carter told CBS This Morning that she called the police on the very day the alleged incident occurred. "The exact day. They asked me for clothing and I gave them my favorite Tommy Hilfiger shirt and that's where they found DNA evidence — semen."
At the time, charges were not filed in Carter's case. "Celebrities are powerful. Celebrities have support systems," said Carter. "I have no support system outside of my immediate family."
Ten months after the incident, Carter signed a $650,000 settlement in which Kelly denied any wrongdoing and Carter agreed to remain quiet.
Though Kelly has been accused of sexual misconduct before, multiple women came forward with new allegations of abuse in the explosive Lifetime documentary series Surviving R. Kelly. Their claims, which included alleged sexual misconduct against several women who were underage at the time, led to the singer’s arrest in February. Kelly was charged last month with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse pertaining to four women, including three who were minors when the alleged abuse occurred. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Kelly spent a weekend in jail after his arrest and wasn't freed until a 47-year-old suburban Chicago business owner posted his $100,000 bail. Kelly also addressed his arrest and allegations during an interview with Gayle King on CBS This Morning earlier this month where he disputed the claims, screaming and crying that he’s been “assassinated.”
Carter said that watching the Lifetime documentary earlier this year was emotionally taxing. "I'll be going on with my day, you turn on the news, here's another R. Kelly victim, another R. Kelly victim, another R. Kelly victim," she said through tears. "And you just want to be there for them."
However, it wasn't until King's interview with Kelly that Carter made the decision to go public with her story. "It felt like it should be a crime to publicly tell a story, to be able to get on television and lie," Carter said of the chaotic sit-down, adding that Kelly's remarks emboldened her to share her truth. "It's actually the reason that I'm here."
Kelly was arrested shortly after his interview for failing to pay child support. He was released after someone anonymously made the $161,000 payment on his behalf.
Watch Carter's interview with CBS This Morning below.
March 28, 6:50 a.m. Updated with more quotes from Carter's interview with CBS This Morning.