One of the anonymous accusers in R. Kelly‘s criminal case is speaking out publicly for the first time.
Lanita Carter is identified as one of the four alleged victims who came forward with their stories of sexual abuse, which led to the Cook County State’s Attorney to
Speaking to CBS This Morning on Thursday, Lanita explains that she met the R&B singer when she was 24-years-old and had been his hairdresser for over a year before anything went down between them.
Carter says that she saw him as more than just a client, and considered him like an older brother to her. She even stood up for Kelly when he was arrested on child pornography charges in 2002.
Reflecting on her defense at the time, Lanita recalls telling people who asked about the singer:
“Two words: perfect gentlemen. I would tell people, ‘Pray for him. Pray for him. I do his hair. He is nothing like what they say!’”
The hairdresser continues that everything changed on February 19, 2003 when she was requested to do the disgraced entertainer’s braids.
“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… If I could change that day – I wouldn’t have been there.”
Just a warning: this is where things get really graphic…
Carter goes on to detail the sexual abuse that took place once she refused Kelly’s initial request. She says that the 52-year-old spit on her repeatedly and then proceeded to masturbate on her:
“He pulled my braid down by him. And he say, ‘Suck it for daddy, suck it for daddy.’ And I said, ‘No.’ And I did like this. And he just started going, [spitting noises]. He did it, like, six times.”
She continues that Robert only stopped once someone came and knocked on the door:
“He didn’t open the door right away. He says, ‘Fix your face! Fix your motherf***ing face!’ I knew that it’ll be my last day there… And I get to the bathroom, and I grabbed a wall, and it was a rose-colored towel… I wiped my face… I’m not dressed no type of way. I look at myself in the mirror, like, I’m not a beauty queen. I didn’t perceive myself to be nothing more than just his hair braider. And I was kept thinking to myself, like, ‘Why did this happen to me?’”
After the horrifying incident, Carter says she reported the alleged assault that same day, and turned her clothing over to Chicago police. Authorities were able to find DNA evidence (semen) on the Tommy Hilfiger shirt Lanita wore, linking back to Kelly.
At the time, charges were not filed against Kelly. Ten months after the incident, she signed a $650,000 settlement in which The Chocolate Factory artist denied any wrongdoing and Carter agreed to keep quiet.
But then in 2009, Robert released a song about having sex with a woman who braids his hair called Hair Braider.
Carter explained to the outlet that a specific line, “zig-zag braids, got em looking like spaghettay,” followed by more specifics woven through his lyrics directly refers to her.
“That was one of the hair styles that I was known for doing, that I never did on him. We were on the L-shaped couch when the incident happened.”
That song led to another confidential settlement – this time for $100,000. Kelly again denied any wrongful conduct, but agreed to never perform the song again or include it in future albums.
In January, following the uproar sparked by the Lifetime docuseries, Surviving R. Kelly, Carter responded to a plea by the Cook County state’s attorney, Kimberly Foxx, for victims to call her office and tell their story.
That call to action, coupled with the Kelly’s explosive interview with Gayle King, is what pushed Lanita to break her silence after 16 years. With tears streaming down her face, she admits:
“I know that I love myself today. I know that I don’t care what anybody say about me. This is a release. I’ve been carryin’ this since 2003. I don’t want to be in the public. But this is my life… If I die tomorrow, I know that I told the truth.”
WATCH her full interview (below):
Lanita is currently represented by attorney Michael Avenatti, who was recently charged with embezzlement, extortion, and other federal crimes.
This is all so much to take in. We applaud Lanita for sharing her story after all of these years. it’ll no doubt continue to play a factor for what happens next in Kelly’s case.
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