Image via Getty/Scott Legato
Lifetime’s powerful documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly” isn’t over yet, but the six-part special has already made an impact and put several prominent music artists on the defensive.
The series features firsthand accounts, police investigations, court documents and more to chronicle the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer’s increasingly disturbing pattern of alleged sexual, mental and physical abuse of underage girls over two decades. Women who fell under Kelly’s spell, some who were as young as 13, speak out for the first time here, illustrating the dark side of fame, the perils of celebrity worship and double standards when it comes to race in the #MeToo era.
But artists such as Questlove and Jay-Z reportedly declined to be interviewed for this series, and are now being called out across media platforms for continuing to give the R&B superstar a pass.
The series’ executive producer Dream Hampton was recently quoted saying that nearly every artist she approached for the series — Lady Gaga, Dave Chappelle, Erykah Badu, Celine Dion — declined to be interviewed. Now many of them are now being criticized for it. (Gaga worked with Kelly as recently as 2013, and so did Jay-Z.) Questlove defended himself on Twitter before deleting his post.
John Legend is the only high-profile artist who appears in the production: “To everyone telling me how courageous I am for appearing in the doc, it didn’t feel risky at all,” he tweeted.