I spent much of my birthday weekend concerned about one Kelly Cherelle Price. That’s not a sentence I could have possibly imagined I would ever type, but after the Grammy-nominated R&B and gospel singer was reported missing in the Atlanta area on Friday the empath in me was truly afraid something tragic had happened to a woman whose voice had brought me so much joy. So instead of leaning into the start of Libra SZN, I spent a chunk of it scrolling Twitter and refreshing TMZ in the hopes that an update would either put me to ease or envelope me with grief. (Okay, I’m lying *just* a bit—I definitely celebrated my solar return with a glorious brunch but Miss Price was the topic of conversation for much of the afternoon).
The entire story was confusing from the start. In late July, Price announced she was battling Covid-19 but according to her family they lost touch with her after she was discharged from the hospital early last month. She wasn't returning calls and no one had been able to reach her, possibly including her adult children—kinda fuzzy on that one, though. After attempts from law enforcement to make contact with Price for a welfare check were unsuccessful she was officially listed as missing with the National Crime Information Center which sent Black Twitter into sleuth mode. I mean the woman has worked with Mariah and Kanye and Puff and the great Whitney Houston. We was finding her before the weekend was over, understand that!
The updates hitting the blogs had all the makings of a Tyler Perry flick. There was reports that her fiancé had blocked family and friends from visiting her at home—probably because they BOTH had Covid—and that no one in her immediate circle had been able to directly reach her for weeks on end. Because she's guarded about her personal life like any celeb who doesn't desire to overshare, we automatically assumed the fiancé must have been shady because we've seen watched enough of the news and seen enough of Law & Order: SUV and The First 48 to know it's always the man. That this was all happening while we were interrogating the media’s propensity for prioritizing young, pretty white girls who go missing over pretty much anybody else only added to the widespread concern—although let's be honest and say Price’s status as R&B royalty most certainly helped her story go wider than it would have if she was just a regular-degular Black woman living anywhere.
As we all demanded to lay eyes on Price, a few of her celebrity friends tried to ease the public by assuring us that she was fine. But it felt suspicious to those of us without the knowledge of Price’s very complicated family dynamics. We watched Da Brat and Brownstone’s Nicci Gilbert talk about being in touch with the singer, but we also heard Price’s sister tearfully pleading for her to get in touch with her family which made it challenging to understand what was actually going on. We weren’t hearing from Price directly and the updates we did receive from non-celebs like her attorney or a life coach we hadn’t seen on her social media page made the whole thing seem suspect AF. Like did the fiancé she was keeping private do something sinister to our girl? Did she have some complication with Covid that turned dire and her team was trying to cover things up? Had she died and her family not been notified yet? The lack of information, Price’s continued silence and her family’s position allowed us to spiral with our speculation and conspiracy theories that something was amiss.
When Price did break her silence with an emotional interview with TMZ on Sunday she offered harrowing details of her experience with the virus (she apparently flatlined and has been recovering from long-haul Covid). She also spoke about how common it is for her and her sister to not speak due to having a strained relationship and how she believed certain family members were manipulating her daughter. Listen, we’ve all fallen out with family before. Sometimes it’s ugly and you stop speaking altogether for long stretches at a time. I have relatives that I 100% do not fuck with and can only reach me through social media but I’m not letting anybody send cops to my house looking for me, let alone allowing a situation to escalate to the point where I’m being placed on the missing person’s list! Somebody is getting a text/voice memo/DM/proof of life photo to pass along. To have relatives thinking you’re dead in a ditch somewhere is … something I can’t wrap my head around and makes me look at everybody with a side-eye. I won’t pretend to be well-versed in the process of being listed as missing, but, like, it takes a lot to hit that list. I totally get wanting to recover in peace, and I’m sure it was overwhelming having family, friends, and fans pulling up to your house but to let it spiral to the point where you’re in a database is quite possibly the most ludicrous thing I’d heard—which is impressive enough considering how absurd this year in celebrity has already been.
Oh, and did I mention Price’s sister was also promoting a single at the same time? Not trying to go all Manifest about the whole thing and say “It’s all connected” but the whole story is funky and I don’t like it. Anyways, I’m so grateful Price is safe (I think) and recovering from Covid. Maybe text your sister, though?