“Surviving R. Kelly,” the documentary series that R. Kelly’s lawyers had
threatened to file a federal lawsuit over, has not only outed some disgusting allegations against the singer, songwriter and record producer, and the families of young Black girls, but also gut-wrenching truths about the treatment of Black women by the music industry and the money and fame that has been prioritized over their lives.
Dream Hampton, the filmmaker, and outspoken critic of R. Kelly, divulged that many musicians declined to participate in the a six-part documentary series, saying it was a complicated mess.
Chance The Rapper,
who appeared in the most recent airing, was quoted as saying working with R. Kelly was a “mistake.”
Chance said on Twitter he regretted the collaboration, and
apologized to survivors of sexual assault:
Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper)
January 6, 2019
Meanwhile, John Legend said participating in the documentary was an “easy decision,” and he turned down the praise from others who said he took a risk.
To everyone telling me how courageous I am for appearing in the doc, it didn’t feel risky at all. I believe these women and don’t give a fuck about protecting a serial child rapist. Easy decision.
John Legend (@johnlegend) January 4, 2019
Legend has never worked with R. Kelly and has been an open critic.
Members of R. Kelly’s inner circle, his alleged victims and their family members were featured. But some of the biggest names in the music industry shunned the idea of appearing in the documentary series, including Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Celine Dion, Mary J. Blige, and QuestLove.
“I mean, most people just don’t want to touch it,” Hampton said, in
an interview. “I remember Ahmir [“Questlove” Thompson] was like, ‘I would do anything for you but I can’t do this.’ It’s not because they support him, it’s because it’s so messy and muddy. It’s that turning away that has allowed this to go on.”
QuestLove responded, in a now deleted tweet: “I always thought Kelly was trash … My reason for declining the R. Kelly docu that I support 10000000 percent is I didn’t wanna be in the ‘good times’ portion of the doc, like stanning for his ‘genius.'”
But couldn’t he still have said that, aside from his genius, his relationships were questionable
While some have history with Kelly that was profitable, others have had disasters.
The Jay-Z/R. Kelly “Best of Both Worlds” platinum album’s tour ended in disaster with lawsuits against each other that were settled out of court (R. Kelly had received unrelated threatening phone calls during that tour).
Lady Gaga and R. Kelly’s 2013 song “Do What You Want,” never had a music video because Gaga’s team said after shooting it that it “looked like an
ad for rape.”
His lyrics in the song, which was about female empowerment, turned sexual with lines like: “I could be the drink in your cup/I could be the green in your blunt/Your pusher man, yeah, I got what you want.”
And those who seem to support R. Kelly, like Erykah Badu, who called him her “brother” that has done more for Blacks than anyone, also turned down participating in the documentary series.
However, R&B singer Stephanie “Sparkle” Edwards, who
testified against R. Kelly at his 2008 trial, and Me Too founder Tarana Burke, were featured.
“R. Kelly has brought so much pain to so many people,” Legend says on camera in the Lifetime documentary, “#TimesUp for R. Kelly.”