Unfortunately this story has a familiar tone that is becoming all too common among many women whose names we know and some we don’t. From the outside Keke Wyatt had the life many girls dream of. She had the husband, the kids, a gold selling debut CD, top 10 singles, videos in heavy rotation and all the promise in the world. But behind closed doors she was being brutally beaten, emotionally taunted and controlled by the man she loved the most, the father of her children, the man to whom she said “I do.”
The media frenzy dubbed the R&B songstress as crazy and unstable, but in reality she was just trying to stay alive.
Now at 28, with a brand new CD and new outlook on life, Keke Wyatt shares her testimony and words of wisdom through God’s protection and grace of how she came out alive after enduring a 10 year long abusive relationship.
You released your first album when you were a teenager and now you’re 28. Did you ever get discouraged and want to give up on singing?
I did get discouraged. It got to the point where I was just like forget it. I was already a mom, so I was just going to find another career path. I had two deals that fell through; one with Cash Money Records and TVT Records.
Since you didn’t have an album out and you weren’t in the public eye, what were you doing?
Well I was around. I don’t know why people didn’t see me. I guess if you’re not Kanye West or someone like that, then people feel like your career is over. But I released two singles and a video, “Ghetto Rose” and “Put Your Hands On Me,” which did very well at radio and on iTunes. And I never stopped working. I toured constantly overseas in Europe, Korea and Japan. I also did a play, some modeling and I’m a writer, so I was getting royalty checks. But over here in the States, as far as recording was concerned, I was kind of over it. I said if it’s meant to be, it will be. My previous albums never materialized because it wasn’t supposed to happen back then.
Keke you were put in jail for stabbing your husband. Was that an isolated incident or were you in an abusive relationship?
I was in an abusive relationship with my husband for 10 years and I’m finally going through a divorce right now.
Tell me about the stabbing incident.
It’s really simple, I was defending myself. The media made me out to be some crazy woman who stabbed her husband with a butcher knife. If I did that he would be dead. I stabbed him with a peeling knife. If anyone knows what a peeling knife is, the handle is bigger than the blade. I couldn’t have hurt him with that if I tried too. He had both hands around my throat, choking me. I had to pick up something to get him off of me so I could breathe. I was the victim and the public made me out to be the bad person, like I did something wrong. People were so judgmental when they had no idea of what happened. Instead of reaching out to me, making sure I was ok and finding out the truth, they reported lies.
Why did you stay so long?
I stayed because I had kids and I thought that’s what I was supposed to do. I grew up in a Christian home and I was always taught to do whatever you can to hold on to your family and don’t let nothing or nobody get in the way of family. I realized if he really loved me he could never hurt me like this. And no excuse like alcohol or drugs is a defense to brutally beating me. I don’t care how drunk or high you are, it gives you no right to pick me up and slam me on the ground in the front yard or lock me in the house and take my phone away, so I can’t call for help. People just don’t understand. He controlled me. I was mentally, physically and emotionally tortured for 10 years!
Did you ever get mad with God for being in a marriage like this?
No because I knew better, so I never blamed God. I did ask why is this happening to me? I believe at the end of every storm there is a rainbow. I feel like I went through this to become the woman that I am today. If you don’t go through something, then how can you help somebody else? I hate that this was my story, but I believe I’m here to help someone before it’s too late for them. I lost my best friend to domestic violence and I was determined for that not to be my story.
How bad did the abuse get?
I’ve been used, abused, lied to, kicked, choked, slammed up against walls, punched in the face, anything you can think of I’ve experienced. A week before my video shoot for my new single “Who Knew” my husband beat me up and I had bruises all over my body. They covered all the bruises up with makeup and that’s why I’m wearing long sleeves in most of the video. I asked him why would he do this to me when he knew I had a video shoot coming up? He told me I shouldn’t be so light! I couldn’t believe he said that to me!
What was the final incident that made you leave him?
The final straw was when I looked up 2 months ago and found myself outside in the middle of the night, in my night gown, with my 1 year old in my arms, screaming for help with a bloody mouth. I was yelling at him saying, “Baby this is me. This is KeKe…THIS IS KEKE. Have you forgotten who I am?” After that I was done and gave it all to God. When we went to court, the judge said if I didn’t leave my husband and get a restraining order against him, he would make sure my 3 children would be taken away from me. I love my kids more than life itself, so I know that was God just tapping me and saying enough! The sad thing is, I can’t honestly say I wouldn’t have taken him back if he had apologized to me. But that’s how much control he had over me.
Looking back, do you see signs that you ignored in the beginning?
YES! I was ordered to go to a battered women’s group for domestic violence and they have this pyramid that tells you the different things men do when they are being controlling or abusive. It’s funny because a woman can be abused without ever being touched. I was being controlled and I didn’t even know it. He was controlling my life. He would schedule gigs for me that I didn’t even know about. Everything was his…his house, his car, his things. But every check that came in the house had my name on it. It always starts with them jumping up in your face, gritting their teeth, pushing you in the forehead with their finger and poking you in the face. Then it just escalates from there.
If you had the chance to give advice to the Keke back then, what would you tell her?
GET OUT! If she thinks it’s going to get better, it’s not! No matter how many times he cries or brings flowers and chocolates, don’t believe him. It doesn’t matter that you have children or people around you telling you to stay. They don’t have to live with the pain and the beatings, so think about you and your children and LEAVE!
How important has your relationship with Christ been through this 10 year nightmare?
I am so happy and grateful I have Christ in my life. He is number one! I can’t tell you where I’d be. A lot of people in my situation would have turned to drugs, alcohol or suicide, but I just gave it all to God.
You’ve just released your sophomore CD “Who Knew.” Tell me about it.
I’m so excited. The CD has been selling really well and it’s the #2 downloaded CD on iTunes. The response to the new single and video have all been positive, so I’m really happy. I’m also going on tour with Fantasia and Rickey Smiley, so I’m excited about that too.
Will you ever record a Gospel CD?
Oh definitely. I love The Clark Sisters, John P. Kee and James Moore. I’m an old school girl! But I do love Kim Burrell and some of Kirk Franklin’s music. But you could be hearing a Gospel CD from me sooner than later. I know God has put an anointing on my voice and no matter if I’m singing about love or God, I know God has given me this voice to inspire people.
What do you want the public to know about you?
I want people to know that I’m not some crazy female who tried to kill her husband. I’m a good mother and a good person who just happened to end up with a crazy idiot. Whatever the public’s perception of me is, it’s not true. I’m in a much better place now! I’m happy to be alive and I want my story to save someone else! In spite of everything God has been so good to me and I know he has even bigger things in store for me!
Check out “Peace On Earth” by Keke Wyatt playing on Da Truth Tunes!
KEKE WYATT’S 20 RANDOM TRUTHS
- Favorite animated movie? “Lion King.”
- Favorite Michael Jackson song? “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough.”
- The Cosby Show, Marin, A Different World or Fresh Prince of Bel Air? “The Cosby Show.”
- Male artist you would like to do a duet with? Joe.
- Can you change a tire? I’m scared. I’ve never tried.
- Messy or clean? Super duper clean! Like ignorant with it! (lol)
- SWV, Brownstone, TLC or Xscape? SWV.
- Worst subject in high school? Social Studies.
- Favorite Restaurant? “Le Petit Four” in Los Angeles.
- One quality you look for in a man? Honesty.