Azriel Clary Says She Was “Coached” by R. Kelly Prior to Explosive 2019 Gayle King Interview

Azriel Clary, an R. Kelly survivor shared the following in a new interview with Gayle King: “Before that interview, [Kelly] had us practicing every single day, answering questions.”

In her latest interview, Azriel Clary is speaking out about her life with R. Kelly after testifying against the disgraced artist. Opposite Gayle King, Clary also candidly spoke about being coached prior to a previous interview where she vehemently defended Kelly. 

The 2019 interview which featured Clary, 23, on CBS This Morning also included a segment with Kelly where he seemingly lost his composure. Clary expresses that she was trained for days before the date of her appearance. 

Earlier this week, Kelly was convicted on all charges following his federal racketeering and sex crimes trial in New York. 50 witnesses were a part of the trial, including Clary. Five of the committed crimes detailed in the trial were related to her.  When testifying she declared she’d been sexually abused by the artist since she was 17.

“Before that interview, he had us practicing every single day, answering questions … and if he didn’t like our answers, he would tell us exactly what to say and how to say it,” Clary said. She adds Kelly “told us to be angry and be upset.” He ended up being pleased with their handling of the interview. 

“We came in angry and I was scared because I was like, I don’t want the world to see me this way,” Clary said. “I’m loving, I’m caring, I’m compassionate. And no one got to see that side of me.”

In the new interview, she also shared: “I was lost and I felt invisible and I gave someone that control over me to basically make me do whatever it was they wanted me to do and to act however they wanted me to act.”

When asked to clarify what she lied about in the 2019 interview, Clary said: “Everything.” She later expressed the environment she was a part of with Kelly was normalized by assistants, security, and other workers of the artist despite it being a toxic lifestyle:

“Everything that we were living in had become very normal and I had to break out of that. I had to realize that this is actually abnormal. … When I met him at 17, he had four other women and so these women are all normalizing his actions.”

Kelly’s conviction on all accounts of his racketeering and trafficking trial was announced on Monday, despite being in custody since 2019 he’s maintained his innocence. He’s facing a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years.

Following the verdict, per PEOPLE, Gerald Griggs an attorney for several of Kelly’s victims said his clients were satisfied. “My clients have been fighting since 2017, and some others have been fighting for 20 years. Today, the voices of Black women were heard loud and clear. This is a process to achieve justice, and they are eagerly awaiting sentencing — as well as his three other trials,” Griggs said.

Watch the entire CBS interview below.

Robyn Mowatt

Robyn Mowatt is a Staff Writer at Okayplayer where she covers culture, music, and fashion. You can see what's on her mind on Twitter at @robyn_mowatt.

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Robyn Mowatt

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