In an exclusive interview with SOHH, burlesque dancer Andrea Kelly, the ex-wife of R. Kelly, spoke about healing and uplifting black women.
Andrea went through a tumultuous marriage and endured both emotional and psychological abuse. She went through dark times and indulged in burlesque as part of her healing journey.
During the interview, the dancer spoke about being healed vs. healing. Andrea would use the word “healing” rather than “healed.”
Unlike wounds or scars that can be healed, she explained that human beings constantly evolve and deal with life’s uncertainties.
“Healing is an ever-evolving thing because I don’t know who’s gonna hit me around that corner at 50, I don’t know what’s coming at me at 60, I don’t know what childhood trauma is gonna come up at 65, I don’t know what relationship I’m gonna get in 10 years, it might go left on me. So there’s always going to be something to heal from.”
In addition, Andrea expressed her opposition to the “strong black woman” trope that teaches black women to always be tough—noting that black women in society should not be in the frontline of struggles.
“I think to just black women, we’re taught our struggle makes us strong. Why are we the only culture that teaches that?” said Andrea,
“I want to be a flower. I want to be delicate. I want to have a breakdown. I want the whole family to say get the kids she going through it. So we need to stop that on all levels immediately. I just want to be a woman.”
As a woman who suffered from domestic abuse, the dancer had more to say about uplifting women in toxic relationships.
She insists that Instead of pointing out the negative issues in a specific relationship, it’s better to “give them ‘woman’ advice.”
Uplifting women and transmitting positive energy to someone in a toxic relationship is the crucial step to take first.
“I would say don’t give them relationship advice. Give them ‘woman’ advice,” said Andrea.
As Andrea said, instead of reiterating the problems of one relationship, we should give women more powerful support:
“Because sometimes you don’t need somebody constantly telling you what’s wrong, or how bad he’s treating you. Sometimes you just need to hear your worth better. I love you. There’s somebody out there for you.”
Andrea has tremendously evolved and continues to heal through dance.
She remains dedicated to taking her power back, uplifting black women, and empowering any women who might also suffer from domestic violence.
During the interview, Andrea also mentioned burlesque and over-sexualization among black women.
“It’s my happy place. It is the place that I go when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m lonely, when I’m fearful, when I’m frustrated,” Andrea stated the importance that burlesque meant to her.