- Jason Merritt/Getty Images for BET.
- For nearly the entire span of his decades-long career, allegations of sexual misconduct have followed singer R. Kelly.
- Several celebrities have spoken out against Kelly, while other former collaborators and friends have remained silent.
- Some of the accusations against Kelly include allegedly having a “sex cult” of young girls, allegedly abusing his ex-wife, Andrea Kelly, and allegedly keeping a 14-year-old girl as his “pet.”
- Kelly denies all the claims against him.
For much of his career, allegations of sexual misconduct have followed singer Robert Sylvester Kelly, also known as R. Kelly.
Recently, the accusations have culminated not only into a movement called #MuteRKelly, but also “Surviving R. Kelly,” a Lifetime documentary featuring his alleged victims. Kelly has been accused of having a “sex cult” of young girls hostage in his home, abusing his ex-wife, Andrea Kelly, and keeping a 14-year-old girl as his “pet.”
Kelly has maintained his innocence, writing a song denying the claims and his lawyers have reportedly threatened legal action against Lifetime.
In the wake of these accusations, many are calling on celebrities who have collaborated with Kelly in the past to speak out. Here are 15 stars who have worked with Kelly and whether or not they’ve commented publicly on the allegations.
Chance the Rapper said making a song with R. Kelly was a mistake.
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Chance the Rapper has had a long history of collaborating with R. Kelly, including bringing Kelly out onstage during a 2014 Lollapalooza performance, appearing in the background of Kelly’s “Backyard Party” music video in 2015, and even making a song together called “Somewhere in Paradise” that same year.
In May 2018, Chance the Rapper expressed regret for working with Kelly. The rapper told Cassius’ Jamilah Lemieux that “making a song with R. Kelly was a mistake.” Weeks later, Chance the Rapper tweeted to clarify his comments, standing by the sentiment.
“I apologize to all of his survivors for working with him,” Chance the Rapper wrote.”And for taking this long to speak out.”
John Legend has taken a strong stand against Kelly.
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Singer John Legend has been vocal about the allegations against Kelly for over a year, pledging support for the #TimesUp movement’s social media vow to #MuteRKelly. Kelly would later mention Legend in a song, accusing Legend by name of tearing him down.
Though Legend and his music production team have previously sampled Kelly’s music in his past songs, Legend now has no qualms about being one of the few artists to speak out in the documentary “Surviving R. Kelly.” Before his appearance, the singer tweeted that taking a stand “didn’t feel risky at all.” “I believe these women,” Legend wrote.
During his portion of the three-night special, Legend maintained his stance. “Time’s up for R. Kelly,” Legend said.
Omarion has vowed to stop playing Kelly’s music.
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Singer Omarion is a member of B2K, a boy band whose roster includes songs written by R. Kelly. Currently, the band is on a reunion tour, but in light of the recent allegations, Omarion announced that they’d no longer be performing any songs written by Kelly after the tour’s conclusion.
Omarion tweeted that he “felt compelled” to voice his stance, despite not seeing “Surviving R. Kelly.”
“EVERYONE has to be RESPONSIBLE,” Omarion said.”Many have bared witness to the unthinkable and yet have remained silent.”
Celine Dion hasn’t spoken out but is reportedly pulling their collaboration.
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Singer Celine Dion recorded a song with R. Kelly called “I’m Your Angel” in 1998. At the time of this writing, the song has over 30 million views on YouTube. The duet came after Kelly allegedly married then-15-year-old Aaliyah and a lawsuit alleging Kelly raped a 15-year-old when he was 24. In 1998, Kelly settled with the accuser before going on to win several awards for his hit song “I Believe I Can Fly.”
According to TMZ, Dion has requested to pull “I’m Your Angel” from streaming services, but as of this writing, the song still appears on several services.
According to dream hampton, executive producer of “Surviving R. Kelly,” Dion was approached to speak in the documentary and declined. At the time of this writing, Dion does not appear to have spoken out about the documentary or the allegations against Kelly.
Kanye West has also remained silent.
Rapper and fashion designer Kanye West worked with Kelly on a song called “To the World” for his 2012 “Cruel Summer” compilation album. Four years later, in 2016, West recalled almost signing to Kelly’s label during the early years of his career. Kelly’s former publicist, who dropped the singer in early 2018, now reportedly represents West.
At this time, West has yet to comment on the allegations.
Jay-Z has also not commented, despite working with Kelly several times.
Jay-Z has had a long history with Kelly. In March 2002, Jay-Z and Kelly released a collaborative album called “Best of Both Worlds.” A few months later, Kelly was indicted on child pornography charges (he was later acquitted in 2008).
In an interview after the album’s release, TV personality Sway asked Jay-Z how he felt about the allegations against Kelly. “I got love for the dude,” the rapper responded.”If he’s guilty, I just hope and pray that he gets help. If he’s not, I wish everybody embraces him.” Later in the interview, Jay-Z says he wasn’t concerned for his own career after working with Kelly.
Jay-Z and Kelly went on to release a follow-up album in 2004 called “Unfinished Business.” During their joint tour, Best of Both Worlds, Jay-Z and Kelly said they were both experiencing tension with each other, with allegations on both sides. The tour was abruptly canceled in 2004.
Recently, executive producer dream hampton said in an interview that Jay-Z declined to appear in “Surviving R. Kelly.” The rapper has not spoken out about the charges.
Lady Gaga recently apologized for working with R. Kelly.
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Lady Gaga collaborated with Kelly in 2013 on the single “Do What U Want,” with lyrics like, “do what you want with my body.” The song, which didn’t get a music video, currently has over 52 million views on YouTube and included a live performance on “Saturday Night Live.”
In a 2013 press conference in Japan, Gaga defended Kelly against the allegations, saying, “R. Kelly and I have sometimes very untrue things written about us.”
Gaga declined to appear on “Surviving R. Kelly,” according to dream hampton.
“I wanted to know how Lady Gaga could be on ‘SNL’ with him as someone who advocates for domestic abuse survivors,” hampton said on “The Karen Hunter Show” on SiriusXM. Lady Gaga has been vocal about her experience with sexual assault, as well as a strong supporter of the singer Kesha, who accused music producer Dr. Luke of sexual abuse.
But, Gaga recently apologized for her collaboration and said that she intends to remove “Do What U Want” from streaming services.
“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 tweet.
She also explained that making the song at the time was a result of her not facing the trauma in her own life.
“As a victim of sexual assault myself, I made both the song and the 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. The song is called ‘Do What U Want (With My Body),’ I think it’s clear how explicitly twisted my thinking was at the time.”
“If I could go back and have a talk with my younger self I’d tell her to go through the therapy I have since then, so that I could understand the confused post-traumatic state that I was in – or if therapy was not available to me or anyone in my situation – to seek help, and speak as openly and honestly as possible about what we’ve been through.”
“I’m sorry, both for my poor judgment when I was young, and for not speaking out sooner. I love you.”
Mary J. Blige and R. Kelly recorded two songs together and nearly went on tour.
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In 2013, long after allegations of Kelly went public, Blige and Kelly were reportedly collaborating on her next album and that same year, Kelly told the media the two were planning the “King & Queen” tour together. After the news, fans created a Change.org petition asking for Blige to rescind the tour. In 2016, Blige embarked on the “King & Queen of Hearts” tour with singer Maxwell.
Producer dream hampton said that Blige declined to appear in “Surviving R. Kelly.” Blige has yet to comment on the allegations.
Ludacris has remained silent.
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Ludacris has remained silent on the allegations. The rapper still follows Kelly on Twitter but does not follow the singer on Instagram.
And so has Kid Rock.
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Rock singer Kid Rock worked with Ludacris and R. Kelly on the song “Rock Star,” which came out in 2007.
As of this writing, Rock has not voiced his stance on the allegations against Kelly. In the past, Rock has voiced his skepticism with the #MeToo movement.
“It’s a tough situation,” Rock said in January 2018 of allegations against a different former colleague. “I think a lot of it is great, but I also think it’s being taken advantage of … Whoever’s not done something stupid at one point in their life cast the first stone, especially all you Christians out there.”
Usher and R. Kelly had a hit song together. The singer has not commented publicly on the allegations.
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Usher does not appear to have addressed the allegations against Kelly publicly.
Mariah Carey hasn’t spoken out, either.
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Singer Mariah Carey has performed with Kelly several times. The pair worked together on a remix of her popular song “Touch My Body” and covers of Christmas classics, and in 2014, they also released a song together called “Betcha Gon’ Know.”
Carey hasn’t responded to the allegations against R. Kelly.
Questlove tweeted an explanation for why he didn’t appear on “Surviving R. Kelly.”
- Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
Questlove, known for being a member of The Roots, was also asked to be on the Lifetime series, but declined.
According to the producer of the documentary, dream hampton, Questlove denied the opportunity to speak about his experiences or the allegations. Questlove later tweeted out an explanation on why he’d passed.
“I always thought [Kelly] was trash,” Questlove said in the now-deleted tweets. “My reason for declining the R. Kelly [documentary] that I support 10,000,000% is I didn’t wanna be in the ‘good times’ portion of the doc, like stanning for his ‘genius.'”
hampton responded, tweeting that she asked the musician to be in the documentary as one of the “black male allies” to the alleged victims.
Erykah Badu once praised Kelly for “doing more for black people than anyone.”
- Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images for Essence
Executive producer dream hampton named singer Erykah Badu as one of the performers approached to appear in “Surviving R. Kelly.” According to hampton, Badu declined.
At the Soul Train Awards in 2015, Badu praised Kelly for “doing more for black people than anyone.”
After the Lifetime documentary, fans filled Badu’s Instagram comments with questions about her support of Kelly. Badu posted a selfie with the caption “a wise woman once said … nothing,” which some interpreted to be about the allegations.
Justin Bieber hasn’t spoken out.
- Mike Windle/Getty Images for iHeartMedia
At the time of this writing, Bieber has not responded to the allegations against Kelly.
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