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Instagram.com/buku.abi | Getty Images
Source: Instagram.com/buku.abi | Getty Images

Joann Kelly Is R. Kelly's Estranged Daughter — What to Know About Her

Christell Fatima M. Tudtud
Jul 04, 2022
04:15 A.M.
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Joann Kelly's relationship with her father, R. Kelly, has been tumultuous for years. Joanne Kelly's life under the disgraced musician's shadow seems to be either a burden or an opportunity. Here's everything we know about the famous rapper's estranged daughter.

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Joann Kelly is an American singer known by her stage name, Buku Abi. Given her musical abilities, it's worth mentioning that she certainly inherited her skills from her father, R. Kelly. On the other hand, Joann seems ashamed that the rapper is her father.

According to a report by BBC, R.Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for using his stardom to abuse women and children sexually. The latest news happened after a New York court convicted him of alleged racketeering and sex crimes in September 2021.

R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, in Chicago, Illinois. | Source: Getty Images

R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, in Chicago, Illinois. | Source: Getty Images

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MAIN FACTS

Born on March 19, 1998, Joann's zodiac sign is Pisces. According to her Instagram profile, the young star also goes by the stage name Baby Blu.

The 24-year-old musician is an actress and a reality TV personality. She appeared on the reality TV show "Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta" in 2017.

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She also has music credits with R. Kelly's 2000 single "I Wish" and her father's previous hit with Canadian singer Celine Dion in 1998, "I'm Your Angel."

Joann had a difficult and unpleasant upbringing. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in September 2019, Joann opened up about her experiences growing up with her disgraced father.

R. Kelly visits SiriusXM Studio on December 20, 2016, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

R. Kelly visits SiriusXM Studio on December 20, 2016, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

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Before his career downfall, people regarded R. Kelly as one of the world's most beloved performers. The multi-award-winning musician previously worked with notable singers like Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, and the late singer Aaliyah.

Joann was unimpressed by the world-renowned musician's achievements. Joann recalled seeing a different side of her father behind the glitz and glamour. She described it as "hell."

R. Kelly attends the 2015 Soul Train Music Awards at the Orleans Arena on November 6, 2015, in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Source: Getty Images

R. Kelly attends the 2015 Soul Train Music Awards at the Orleans Arena on November 6, 2015, in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Source: Getty Images

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Joann also dwelt on her teenage years, wherein she coped with her father's troubles. She went to a public school and heard things about her father that she had never heard before. She said of her experience:

"Fifth and sixth grade is when I started learning the sore part of it, the not so good part. I think that was the hardest part for me because for so long I went with this image of who my dad (was) and what my family (was)."

Even with all the undesirable sentiments about the "Step In The Name of Love" hitmaker Joann heard at school, she said that her life at home with her father and mother was normal.

R. Kelly attends the 2013 American Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 24, 2013, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

R. Kelly attends the 2013 American Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 24, 2013, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

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FAMILY OF JOANN KELLY

Joann's mother, Andrea "Drea" Kelly, is as well-known as her renowned father, R. Kelly, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, born on January 8, 1967, in Chicago, Illinois.

Her 48-year-old mother is a choreographer who worked as a backup dancer for R. Kelly. Andrea married the Grammy winner in 1996, but she divorced him in 2009 after a court battle.

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Besides her parents' divorce, Joann eventually got estranged from her infamous father after the release of the documentary "Surviving R. Kelly," which depicts her dad's controversial life. She stated:

"(We) don't have a relationship, so it's not like me to check in on him. I don't personally go look it all up and read. I keep myself out of it."

Joann Kelly, also known as Buku Abi, attends the premiere of "Waka & Tammy: What The Flocka" at Republic on March 10, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia. | Source: Getty Images

Joann Kelly, also known as Buku Abi, attends the premiere of "Waka & Tammy: What The Flocka" at Republic on March 10, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia. | Source: Getty Images

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Joann is R. Kelly and Andrea's eldest daughter. The former couple also shares two other children: sons Robert Kelly Jr. 20, and Jay Kelly, 22.

Jay was born as a girl in 2000, and his parents named him Jaya. When Jay was 13, he came out as transgender, which R. Kelly found unacceptable. Andrea, meanwhile, supported Jay's sexual orientation.

Meanwhile, Robert Kelly Jr. was born in 2002. He was born under difficult circumstances because Andrea allegedly struggled under R. Kelly's abuse at the time.

Buku Abi (Joann Kelly) and Drea Kelly attend WE tv "Power, Influence & Hip Hop: The Remarkable Rise Of So So Def" celebration and Season 3 of "Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta" on July 16, 2019, California. | Source: Getty Images

Buku Abi (Joann Kelly) and Drea Kelly attend WE tv "Power, Influence & Hip Hop: The Remarkable Rise Of So So Def" celebration and Season 3 of "Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta" on July 16, 2019, California. | Source: Getty Images

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Although Joann spoke out frankly about her connection with R. Kelly, little is known about her personal life, including whether she has dated anyone or has a husband.

Amid her estrangement from R. Kelly, Joann could not ignore his musical talent.

However, she revealed to her fans in November 2020 that she had a miscarriage the previous month. It's unknown who her baby's father was since she never revealed his identity to them.

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A LOOK INSIDE JOANN KELLY'S CREATIVE PATH

Joann's school years were tough, but she discovered her own path through music. She performed on stage in high school, which helped her grasp what she enjoyed.

Joann persisted on her musical path, but her father's name constantly tormented her. She described becoming R. Kelly's daughter as a "two-edged sword."

She revealed that her father's misfortunes had affected her musical career. She said people in the music industry would judge her for no reason other than that she's R. Kelly's daughter.

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Joann said that some people would either want to collaborate with her or not want to collaborate at all. Others wanted to work with her just to spite her father.

Joann chose not to use the birth name given to her by her parents. Previously known for her musical name Ariirayé, she finally settled into the moniker Buku Abi.

Amid her estrangement from R. Kelly, Joann could not ignore his musical talent. She said her dad influenced her in many ways. "That's the one thing that will always keep us connected," she added.

Joann has released several songs, including "Mmm Yeah," "Back Up," and "You Ain't a threat." She also uploaded another track, "Pls Don't," five months ago on Sound Cloud.

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