Da Brat won't be muting her friend R. Kelly anytime soon, despite the wave of backlash flanking the controversial R&B singer
On Saturday, the 44-year-old rapper opened up about her close friend (and fellow Chicago native) at the Trumpet Awards in Atlanta, admitting that though she believes his victims and knows he needs help, she’s standing by him.
“I do think he needs help,” Da Brat told TMZ. “I love him, I grew up with him. He’s kind of like family. We had the same music teacher, we were around the same circles as kids. … I think he needs help, for sure. I love him — I hope he don’t get mad at me.”
“I can’t stop listening to the music,” she added. “Never will I stop listening to the music. I might not buy no more, but it’s already in my playlist.”
Her comments came as Kelly, 52, has recently come under intense scrutiny in the wake of the Lifetime docuseries, Surviving R. Kelly — which features interviews with Kelly’s family members, former friends and colleagues, and most notably women who claim that for decades the hit-making singer and producer used his power and influence to sexually and physically abuse women and young girls.
“I’ve never seen him do anything bad but I don’t think any of these people are lying,” Da Brat told TMZ.
The rapper also questioned where the parents of some of his alleged victims had been during the time of their alleged abuse.
“Where are the parents?” she asked. “I think the parents need to take responsibility. Where is your 14-year-old child? Why are you there? You know what I’m saying? Something’s wrong with that.”
Da Brat isn’t the only musician who has supported R. Kelly the man while condemning his alleged actions.
On Saturday, Erykah Badu told the crowd attending her concert at Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom that she was “sending a prayer right now for R,” referring to Kelly.
“I hope he sees the light of day if he’s done all those things that we’ve seen on TV and heard those ladies talk about,” she said, in video obtained by TMZ. “I hope he sees the light of day and comes forward.”
As the audience booed, Badu, 47, continued, “But y’all say f— it! That’s not love. That’s not unconditional love. But what if one of the people that was assaulted by R. Kelly grows up to be an offender themselves. We gonna crucify them? How do we do this? Just something to think about.”
Later, Badu clarified her comments on Twitter, saying that reports of the night had taken her words “out of context.”
“I love you. Unconditionally. That doesn’t mean I support your poor choices. I want healing for you and anyone you have hurt as a result of you being hurt. Is that strange to you?” she wrote. “That’s all I’ve ever said. Anything else has been fabricated or taken out of context.”
R. Kelly’s lawyer has denied the allegations made in the docuseries. In an interview with the Associated Press, Chicago-based attorney Steve Greenberg called the documentary “disgusting” and claimed that producers told “disgruntled” women incriminating things to say about Kelly off camera in an effort to incriminate the Grammy winner.
Producers of the film, however, denied the lawyer’s statement. “We are enormously proud of the series. The powerful stories from the women in the documentary speak for themselves,” they previously said in a statement to PEOPLE. “Their honesty and candor has resonated with millions of viewers.”
Meanwhile, the aftermath of the program, it was reported that R. Kelly has been dropped by Sony Music, his longtime record label.
The New York Times also reported that R. Kelly is now under investigation in the state of Georgia. While no charges have currently been brought in Kelly’s other residence of Chicago, Cook County state attorney Kim Foxx held a press conference earlier this month to encourage any victims to “please come forward.”
If you or someone you know think they are being abused, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) now for anonymous, confidential help, available 24/7.