Did The Roots help R. Kelly recruit kids to assault?
Philadelphia born R&B singer Jaguar Wright is speaking out about her experiences in the music industry, specifically while touring with popular late-night hip hop band The Roots.
Wright, who took to Instagram in the form of a 59-minute video, alleges that in addition to sexual abuse she suffered in the industry, she also witnessed some less-than-savory things concerning disgraced rapper R. Kelly and the house band of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
In the video captioned “It’s Truth Time. Dropping knowledge & facts #nuffsaid”, Wright detailed several instances when she witnessed members of The Roots assist and cover up the crimes of Kelly in his sex trafficking of underage girls.
R. Kelly’s Crimes
Wright got her start performing and touring with The Roots in 2001 and eventually started working as a background singer for Jay-Z. During this time when she was touring & working with The Roots, she witnessed members of the band complicit in the procurement of underage girls.
“Look at R. Kelly, The Roots was around when that n*** was sending his driver around to go get girls from what was the middle school—They brought ’em to the studio,” Wright said in her video. “They brought ’em to Larry Gold’s studio and I was told to mind my f****** business if I wanted to keep my career. A member of The Roots told me that, ‘That ain’t none of your business. That man makes people millionaires.”
Since the 1990s varying reports of Kelly’s crimes have circulated as open secrets. But in 2019, following the release of a Lifetime docuseries titled Surviving R. Kelly, he was dropped from RCA Records and indicted on ten counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
Kelly remains incarcerated at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago while awaiting trials in Illinois, New York, and Minnesota for a number of charges including child pornography, kidnapping, and forced labor.
Experiences with Common
Wright also discussed experiences of sexual misconduct she endured while being in the orbit of The Roots at the hand of fellow rapper and collaborator: Common. In the video, she describes an incident after a show when Common forced himself upon her despite her refusal.
As a survivor of rape, Wright claims that she knew how to proceed with caution, but when she woke up the next morning, she discovered Common on top of her in a compromising position.
“The next thing I know I’m waking up in the morning and I feel something poking in my face and s**t,” she said. “I open my mouth and this n***a tried to stick his d**k in my mouth while I’m asleep,” she says. “That’s why I stopped f**king with him, because n***a if you gonna try to stick your d**k in my mouth while I’m asleep, there ain’t nothing you won’t do.”
Jaguar Wright and her work
It’s not clear when Wright cut off contact with The Roots, but since her debut album was released in 2002, she has been touring every year as a solo act. In 2012, Wright assembled a rock & roll soul band composed of Philadelphia musicians, The W.E. ft. Jaguar Wright. The name, an acronym for “The Wright Experience”, had its debut performance in October 2012. In 2019, Wright released 5-song EP “Lost.”
While Wright admitted she feels horrible for not speaking up sooner, she also expressed hope her words will do some good now. As a survivor of sexual assault, Wright acknowledged the complicated feelings that can arise in such situations: “You know how responsible I feel for the women I let get hurt because I didn’t say nothing.”