“Look, Aaliyah’s uncle Barry Hankerson was Robert’s manager […] So, you know, that’s not a question that everybody should be asking me,” she said. “I didn’t see anything with the Aaliyah thing. Even on the Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number CD—I didn’t sing on Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number […] I had no interaction at all.
“Who thought that was real? You know what I mean I thought that was a hoax that that’s not real, you know? That was my naiveté of thinking that it wasn’t real because like again, Barry Hankerson was there,” Sparkle said. “This shouldn’t and couldn’t have happened.
I’m thinking, ‘Now this is a hoax. [Aaliyah is] only 15. Oh, this is nothing. He can’t marry a young girl.’ So, you know, didn’t think anything of it. […] Well, after I saw the marriage certificate and I was like, OK, maybe there’s something to it. But again, I’m thinking the uncle was there, the parents are there. This can’t be.”
Fans of the show were upset with Sparkle, tweeting that she had put her pursuit of fame in front of the welfare of her own niece.
“Like, hear me: I did not know. Had I known when it first jumped off, I would have reacted the same way I reacted when I did know… I called the authorities even prior to the tape [coming] to my knowledge. I got phone calls from his inner camp, from a couple people, saying something wasn’t right and that I should be looking into this.”