Important Notice: This post was published on January 6, 2019 and may be out of date.
John Legend is doing what he feels is right. After appearing in Lifetime’s new docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly” which highlights allegations of sexual and physical abuse made against R. Kelly dating back to 1994 Legend faced praise for appearing in the six-part series, which premiered on January 3.
Legend, a Grammy-winning recording artist, tweeted that appearing in the doc “didn’t feel risky at all” and he doesn’t “give a f—k about protecting a serial child rapist.”
Taking It to Court
Kelly, an R&B singer behind hits including “Ignition” and “I Believe I Can Fly,” has been accused of sexual assault and pedophilia for a quarter century, starting in 1994 when he reportedly married the late singer Aaliyah when she was underage. Other allegations over the years have included a report accusing him of organizing a sex “cult” and a woman saying he intentionally gave her a sexually transmitted disease.
Kelly has always denied the accusations against him, even singing in a 19-minute song called “I Admit” that the abuse allegations are “some absurd s—t.”
“I admit that I am not perfect, I never said I was perfect / Said I’m abusing these women, what the f—k that’s some absurd s—t / They’re brainwashed, really? / Kidnapped, really? / Can’t eat, really? / Real talk, that s—t sound silly.”
The Only One to Speak Out
Dream Hampton, the executive producer of the docuseries, tried to get more artists beyond Legend to speak out, but they all declined.
“When it comes to celebrities, It was incredibly difficult to get people who had collaborated [artistically] with Kelly to come forward,” Dream Hampton told the Detroit Free Press. “We asked Lady Gaga. We asked Erykah Badu. We asked Céline Dion. We asked Jay-Z. We asked Dave Chappelle. [They’re] people who have been critical of him. That makes John Legend even more of a hero for me.”
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson of “The Roots” and “The Tonight Show,” explained on Twitter Thursday afternoon that he refused to participate because he was worried his quotes might appear in a part of the movie where Kelly comes off in a positive light.
“I always thought Kels was trash,” the musician wrote in a tweet that has since been deleted (via E!). “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.’ I was asked to talk about his genius. I do not nor have I EVER stanned for him…That quote makes it look like I’m protecting him. I’m thinking ‘damn I don’t wanna be the one guy I always am in documentaries fawning over someone I detest. So make ZERO mistake on my positioning.'”
Hampton later responded to Questlove on Twitter, but also deleted her tweets.
“I’m sorry that this quote has caused you grief,” she wrote. “You didn’t want to talk about him, no one did. But I think that not talking abt him has been a kind of pass, which is what I said. Didn’t mean for you to stand out in that quote…I didn’t ask you about his ‘Genius.’ I’ve never thought he was a genius. I asked you to come on camera and say the same thing you said on Twitter. I told you I need Black male allies.”
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