For greater than 20 years, the R&B singer Robert Kelly, who performs as R. Kelly, has confronted accusations of sexual misconduct and abuse.
This week, a six-part documentary on Lifetime is taking an expansive have a look at the allegations in opposition to Mr. Kelly, a chart-topping artist whose historical past has invited additional scrutiny lately.
The collection, “Surviving R. Kelly,” consists of testimony from a number of girls who accuse the singer of abuse, in addition to commentary from Mr. Kelly’s critics, together with the founding father of the #MeToo motion, Tarana Burke, and the singer John Legend.
The six episodes, every an hour lengthy, cowl the lengthy historical past of allegations in opposition to Mr. Kelly. They characteristic girls who described being managed or abused by him, usually once they have been youngsters, in addition to associates and kinfolk of the singer.
Mr. Kelly has constantly denied the allegations in opposition to him.
The documentary has turn into the topic of widespread consideration and fierce debate on social media, with many expressing gratitude to the ladies who proceed to inform their tales.
“I wish that he would experience a kind of social death, and that people who still vociferously declare him innocent — or their favorite artist, or worthy of having his work separated from who he is — that they are denied that,” mentioned dream hampton, an govt producer of the documentary.
The six elements of the collection have been scheduled over three days of broadcast, from Thursday by means of Saturday. The third and fourth episodes targeted on Mr. Kelly’s 2008 baby pornography trial and the intercourse tape at its middle. The fifth and sixth episodes look at newer allegations and observe dad and mom who have been attempting to free their daughters from Mr. Kelly’s affect, Ms. hampton mentioned.
While some followers of Mr. Kelly nonetheless defend him, many critics say that he has escaped the implications of his actions for a lot too lengthy.
“No one cared because we were black girls,” the author Mikki Kendall mentioned within the documentary.
Ms. hampton agreed that race was an integral part of this story. She added that black boys and girls in the United States are often perceived as older than they are, and referenced Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy who was shot and killed by a police officer in Cleveland in 2014.
“We know black boys are perceived to be older than they are by police, and we absolutely do an equivalent thing to black girls,” Ms. hampton said in an interview Friday. “We perceive them to be more sexual at an early age. We perceive them to be older. And that is rooted — there is no other way to say it, and it’s not hyperbole to say — it’s absolutely rooted in this country’s history of slavery, which has gone on longer than it hasn’t.”
Mr. Kelly was still featured as an artist on the RCA website on Saturday. The label did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and a representative for Sony Music, which oversees RCA Records, declined to comment. Mr. Kelly’s management also declined to comment.
His team has previously said it would “vigorously resist this attempted public lynching of a black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture.” Mr. Kelly is not currently facing criminal charges.
In 1994, when Mr. Kelly was 27, he married Aaliyah Haughton, who was 15 but was listed as 18 on a wedding certificate, according to Vibe Magazine. The marriage was annulled in 1995. Ms. Haughton, who was a popular singer in her own right, died in a plane crash in 2001.
In the documentary, people who knew R. Kelly claim that during the 1990s and 2000s, associates of the famous singer knew that he liked to prey on underage girls.
In 2002, a video that appeared to show Mr. Kelly having sex with a teenage girl and urinating in her mouth was sent to Mr. DeRogatis at The Chicago Sun-Times, which reported that the footage was being investigated by the Chicago police.
Later that year, Mr. Kelly was indicted by a grand jury in Chicago for child pornography. He pleaded not guilty, and for more than five years his case did not make it to trial. During that time he released albums including “Chocolate Factory,” which contained the chart-topping song “Ignition (Remix).”
Arguments in the 2008 trial centered on whether the man shown in the video was indeed Mr. Kelly, and whether the girl’s identity or her age could be verified. The jury decided that the girl, who did not testify, could not be identified, and Mr. Kelly was found not guilty.
In the documentary, one juror was asked about the women who had said, during the trial, that they also were victimized by Mr. Kelly when they were young. “I just didn’t believe them, the women,” the juror answered. “I know it sounds ridiculous. The way they dress, the way they act — I didn’t like them.”
For years after the trial, Mr. Kelly continued to perform. In 2017, an article by Mr. DeRogatis in BuzzFeed News reported on allegations that the singer was controlling several young women by taking away their phones and limiting contact with their families. That same year, a campaign of protests, in person and on social media under the hashtag #MuteRKelly, began to pick up steam. In 2018, Spotify announced that it would remove Mr. Kelly from its official playlists, though his music would remain on the streaming platform.
A screening of the Lifetime documentary in Manhattan last month was called off after anonymous threats were called in to the venue, CNN reported.
The documentary’s producers include Ms. hampton, Tamra Simmons, Brie Miranda Bryant, Joel Karsberg and Jesse Daniels, according to Lifetime.
Some of the people featured in the documentary, including Mr. Legend and the columnist Jamilah Lemieux, have pointed people to organizations like A Long Walk Home, a Chicago-based nonprofit working to end violence against girls and women; and Girls for Gender Equity, a nonprofit that has created a guide for viewers of the documentary, including those who are survivors of sexual assault.
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