John Legend, Meek Mill, Chance the Rapper and More Denounce R. Kelly: ‘Sick to My Stomach'
Musicians are publicly speaking out as the revelations from Surviving R. Kelly continue to pile up
As the revelations from Lifetime’s shocking R. Kelly documentary continue to pile up, many musicians — some of whom have worked with the singer in the past — are stepping forward to publicly denounce him.
“Music is important. It really is. But it’s not more important than protecting our children, protecting our little girls. PERIOD. #IHaveADaughter #TF!?? #MUTERKELLY,” he added alongside a picture of the words “MuteRKelly” against a black background.”
“It’s so much filthy s— going on in this industry nobody will ever really speak on the wild s— because most of them could have docs like this or even worst done about them!” he added.
R&B singer Tank, 43, went on to share a lengthy post in which he admitted that while he, like many, had “been inspired” by Kelly, the documentary made him “sick to my stomach.”
“A lot of artists, song writers, producers, record execs, etc are very confused as to how to respond to what they’ve seen and heard,” he wrote. “We’ve all been inspired by this man. We’ve all been witnesses to his musical genius. We have shaped and molded talent we sign after his musical image. We’ve invested so much of ourselves into this man that it’s hard for us to let go. I no longer have that issue.”
“I whole heartedly [sic] apologize for not coming to this realization sooner,” he wrote, adding, “There has to be a line drawn. Enough has to be enough at some point. Who are we saying is worth protecting if we let this continue? I choose the lives of these young black girls!”
“I stand behind these women 1000%, believe them, know they are suffering and in pain, and feel strongly that their voices should be heard and taken seriously,” she wrote in a post on her Instagram Story.
“What I am hearing about the allegations against R Kelly is absolutely horrifying and indefensible,” she added.
Gaga, who was sexually assaulted at age 19, went on to explain that the controversial song came during a challenging time in her life.
“As a victim of sexual assault myself, I made both the song and video at a dark time in my life, my intention was to create something extremely defiant and provocative because I was angry and still hadn’t processed the trauma that had occurred in my own life,” she explained of her collaboration with Kelly. “I can’t go back, but I can go forward and continue to support women, men and people of all sexual identities, and of all races, who are victims of sexual assault.”
Gaga also vowed to have the track removed from iTunes and all streaming services.
Surviving R. Kelly — which aired on Lifetime from Thursday, Jan. 3 to Saturday, Jan. 5 — features wide-ranging interviews with Kelly’s family members, former friends and colleagues, but 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.
Representatives for Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, responded “no comment” to PEOPLE’s request for a response to the allegations made in Surviving R. Kelly and interviews with alleged victims in this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.
In 2002, Kelly, 51, was indicted after a video surfaced allegedly showing a man engaged in sex acts with a woman who some witnesses testified was 14 at the time of the recording.
Both Kelly and the woman denied that the video was of them, and Kelly was never charged with assault. In 2008, Kelly was found not guilty on 21 counts of child pornography.
John Legend — who is one of the only stars speaking out in the six-part docuseries on Lifetime — used Twitter ahead of the program’s debut on Thursday to respond to fans who labeled him as brave for criticizing the “Ignition” singer.
“To everyone telling me how courageous I am for appearing in the doc, it didn’t feel risky at all,” wrote Legend, 40. “I believe these women and don’t give a f— about protecting a serial child rapist. Easy decision.”
During an interview for the documentary, the “All of Me” singer says, “R. Kelly has brought so much pain to so many people,” and in the series’ last episode, Legend adds, “Time’s up for R. Kelly.”
Praising the EGOT-winning star for his participation, the film’s executive producer Dream Hampton told Shadow and Act that after reaching out to dozens of music stars and Kelly’s former collaborators, “Most people don’t want to touch it.”
However, Questlove, whom the executive producer named as having turned down participating in the documentary, went on to write in a since-deleted tweet that his decision didn’t have to do with any ambivalence towards denouncing Kelly.
“I always thought Kels was trash. My reason for declining the RKelly 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,’ ” Questlove, 47, wrote on Twitter, according to Vibe.
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Chance the Rapper, who has collaborated with Kelly on the 2015 song “Somewhere in Paradise,” also makes a brief appearance in the documentary, voicing regret for working with the singer.
“We’re programmed to really be hypersensitive to black male oppression. It’s just prevalent in all media and when you see n— getting beat up by the police, it’s men,” Chance, 25, says in a clip from the documentary, which he posted to his Twitter account.
In a separate post, Chance went on to share that a line from the end of the clip — in which he says “maybe I didn’t care because I didn’t value the accusers’ stories because they were black women” — was “taken out of context.”
According to TMZ, his full quote was as follows: “We’re programmed to really be hypersensitive to black male oppression, but black women are exponentially [a] higher oppressed and violated group of people just in comparison to the whole world. Maybe I didn’t care because I didn’t value the accusers’ stories because they were black women.”
“The truth is any of us who ever ignored the R Kelly stories, or ever believed he was being setup/attacked by the system (as black men often are) were doing so at the detriment of black women and girls. I apologize to all of his survivors for working with him and for taking this long to speak out,” he wrote.
For more powerful stories from alleged victims of R. Kelly, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE on newsstands now.
Surviving R. Kelly aired on Lifetime from Thursday, Jan. 3 to Saturday, Jan. 5.
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.