The “Surviving R. Kelly,” docu-series had most of us shook – including some stars who denounced the “Step in the Name of Love” artist in the show and others doing so now on social media.
Hours before the finale was set to air Sunday, Jada Pinkett Smith took to her Instagram account to say that she doesn’t understand how or why R. Kelly’s music has seen a spike since the release of the six-part series.
USA TODAY has reached out to Spotify to confirm a Blast report that the singer’s streams are up 16 percent since the series began.
“I’m having a really difficult time understanding why,” said Smith in her video. “I think it’s important that I understand why. I really would like for you guys to help me understand what I’m missing.”
Smith also said that she would continue the conversation on her “Red Table Talk” show on Wednesday.
Dream Hampton, the executive producer of “Surviving R. Kelly,” had previously told The Detroit Free that she had trouble getting celebrities to participate – not necessarily because they supported Kelly, but because it was “messy.”
She explained, “It was incredibly difficult to get people who had collaborated (artistically) with Kelly to come forward. We asked Lady Gaga. We asked Erykah Badu. We asked Celine 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.”
Legend, one of the few celebrities to participate and speak out against Kelly said his decision to participate was not courageous; it was just the right thing to do.
“It didn’t feel risky at all,” tweeted Legend. “I believe these women and don’t give an (expletive) about protecting a serial child rapist. Easy decision.”
But Chance the Rapper, who also spoke on the record, expressed regret over having collaborated with Kelly on the 2015 track “Somewhere in Paradise,” issued a tweet saying his comments were taken out of context by the docu-series which Rolling Stone used in a piece about his “Surviving R. Kelly” interview. After the program aired, Chance released the full interview, which only a snippet of had been used in the docu-series.
In the finale, Chance is quoted as saying, “Making a song with R. Kelly was a mistake. I didn’t value the accusers’ stories, like, because they were black women.”
In a Twitter statement, the Chicago rapper said his “quote was taken out of context but the truth is any of us who ever ignored the R. Kelly stories, or ever believed he was being set up/attacked by the system (as black men often are) were doing so at the detriment of black women and girls”.
He added, “I apologize to all of his survivors for working with him and taking so long to speak.”
Ne-Yo posted a “Mute R Kelly” message on his Instagram Sunday, adding that music isn’t “more important than protecting our children, protecting our little girls. PERIOD.”
Singer JoJo wondered if she could have been one of Kelly’s victims, adding that she heard “stories about this stuff in studio sessions” throughout her career.
“Many of these stories I was hearing when I, myself, was wayyyy underage,” she said in a series of tweets Saturday. “Making my first couple albums at 12 and then 14/15. I was a HUGEEEEE R Kelly fan, came from a broken home, had daddy issues, and wondered… how did these girls get chosen? I wondered if I could/would be.”
JoJo thanked her mother for not letting her work with Kelly, although she “begged her to,” because “if I didn’t have her, I could have easily fallen victim to someone like R Kelly. Period.”
Rapper Meek Mill took to Twitter on Sunday to share that he’s “not feeling (Kelly) after watching” the docu-series. He then questioned the music industry itself: “It’s so much filthy (expletive) going on in this industry nobody will ever really speak on the wild (expletive) because most of them could have docs like this or even worst done about them!”
In another tweet, Meek continued, “It don’t take a rocket scientist to see what was going on…. what I’m tryna figure out why did they let it go on soooooo long!”
R&B artist, Tank, also used his social media platform to share his thoughts on R. Kelly. The 43-year-old posted a photo of Kelly’s name on a black background crossed out in red and said that he can understand why it might be hard for people to condemn a “musical genius,” but as a father, he can no longer stay quiet about Kelly’s behavior.
“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 apologize for not coming to this realization sooner,” wrote Tank as his caption. “I CANOT [sic] separate the music from the monster! My 3 black daughters won’t let me.”
Actor Columbus Short uploaded a video to his Instagram page also denouncing R. Kelly and joining in the #MuteRKelly movement. He expressed his disgust with the artist and said that no one who’s trying to make it in the industry should have to encounter people like him.
“It’s got to stop, it’s ridiculous,” said Short. “I looked up to this man very very much as a writer as a songwriter and all that, but none of this behavior is acceptable.”