Azriel Clary Reveals Why She Was Protective Of R. Kelly During Intense Sit Down With Gayle King

When we last saw Azriel Clary, she was 22-years-old and fiercely defending R. Kelly’s actions. She along with other women said they were not being held against their will and that her parents were hungry for Kelly’s money.

The now 24-year-old sat down with Jason Lee of Hollywood Unlocked and expressed why she defended him so fiercely in the now-viral interview with broadcast journalist Gayle King.

Clary started by sharing, “A lot of people don’t necessarily understand how fast stuff escalated.” Fueled by the motivation to enter the music industry as a vocalist, she gained a mentor in Kelly, making her an easy target for his controlling and manipulative ways.

“I just felt like, ‘What am I doing if I’m not doing music?’ and that’s what comes when you’re dealing with someone who’s very toxic and you’re very young,” she said.

“I kind of feel like you can never blame a parent [or an] adult who left their child with an adult, so let’s start there… it doesn’t fall on anyone except for that adult that the child was left with,” she added.

Clary also noticed that her backlash has only come from “people who are actually still very much die-hard fans of this man.” And while she agrees that it’s very “unfortunate,” she expressed that she knows those people are just fans who fell in love with Kelly’s artistry and music.

Still, she shared she firmly believes “right is right and wrong is wrong.”

“At the end of the day, I went through something toxic with one person. One person is the only person who put their hands on me. One person is the only person who did not allow me to speak with my family and so forth,” Clary firmly said.

Clary said she does not feel that she can blame anyone besides Kelly for his actions—if she did, she “wouldn’t be growing as a young woman.” Clary even implies that the defamed singer is right where here’s supposed to be – under the watchful eyes and justice of the law.

Clary also explained why she so fiercely defended Kelly in the viral interview with Gayle King.

“I just think that [I] was scared,” she shared. “Regardless of how anybody wants to perceive an interview through their screen, at the end of the day, I had to go back to whatever I was going back to and the rest of the world continued to go on with their life.”

“I look back and I just wish that I could give [that girl] a big hug [and tell her that] you do not have to be scared. And it’s so okay to stand up for yourself,” she said.

Clary has found healing by accepting accountability for the unfortunate events.

“I had to take accountability – I’m here now, but I made a lot of very careless decisions,” Clary shared. “I was very young. I was very naive. And even I have to admit to that. I’ve always felt like I’m that person who has to go through the fire for everybody… And ultimately, for me, I just know that there are people out there who are going through something similar.”

Clary admitted that she also found healing in sharing her transparent and vulnerable moments with others.

“For me, it was super, super important to show how I healed and my healing process. Days that I was happy, days that I was sad, days that I was depressed and days that I was high,” she said. “And so I feel like in doing that, it kind of helped other women be able to leave situations and just take every single day at a time.”

Clary was first introduced to the world as a 17-year-old who had fallen into Kelly’s clutches with dreams of making it big in the music industry with him as her perceived mentor.

Clary and many other women whom Kelly seduced and gaslighted into submission, had their relationship with the singer recounted in the 2019 Lifetime series, Surviving R. Kelly, and its follow-up documentaries. The series garnered so much attention worldwide that it led to a full-fledge investigation into Kelly’s background as a sexual predator and fueled a series of tumultuous events where the artist attempted to use the women he abused as protection.

When the documentary series Surviving R: Kelly aired on the Lifetime television network, no one could have imagined the tumultuous and horrifying events it would recount and ultimately lead towards in the following years.

Since we’ve watched the defamed R&B crooner, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, be convicted of nine charges of racketeering and sex trafficking; and ultimately face ten years to life in prison. Any remnants of his musical legacy and industry stature have long been shattered. And the only thing more damaging to watch is the effects that his horrid actions have had on his long list of victims.