R&B singer Stephanie ‘Sparkle’ Edwards is taking full advantage of her platform following the airing of the three-part Lifetime documentary, ‘Surviving R. Kelly.’
The one-time R. Kelly protégé releases the new single, “We Are Ready,” a female empowerment anthem that not only tackles the current R. Kelly drama, she also touches on cultural movements like Time’s Up.
“We have a voice, and it’s loud,” Sparkle emotionally declares on the song. Her powerhouse vocals take center stage as she warns abusers that about their heinous behaviors.
Along with Sparkle’s commentary, ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ features interviews with former girlfriends, associates, accusers, his ex-wife Andrea Kelly, and singer John Legend. The docuseries covers Kelly’s entire life, from his childhood to his career to his alleged sexual history with underage girls.
“I didn’t want to do the documentary, I initially stated ‘no,’ ” says Sparkle. “But Dream Hampton, one of the [‘Surviving R. Kelly’] exec producers … said that I was heroic in a sense, that I was the only person that stood up and spoke up about what he had done to my niece.”
Kelly didn’t victimize sparkle herself, but her niece was allegedly the 14-year old girl in the infamous tape that led to Kelly’s indictment. In 2008, Kelly was acquitted after both he and the young girl denied that it was them in the video.
Sparkle says she’s glad that speaking up has become more prevalent because she felt alone when the tapes first came to light.
“I spoke up when I first learned of the tape and the situation. I didn’t hesitate. As soon as I saw it, I was on the phone with the authorities,” she says. “That’s where the trial came about.”
“I’m happy the young girls and women who are speaking up now are speaking up, but I wish someone had my back then. Social media is great now — all these movements are here now. But there was a ‘me’ before there was ‘Me Too.’ Nobody had my back.”
Sparkle’s new song is accompanied with by promotional video which includes a clip of Oprah Winfrey speaking at last year’s Golden Globes, images of abusers like Bill Cosby, protest and more.
Naysayers may call out Sparkle for being opportunistic. Nevertheless, her message is primed for the movement.