With R. Kelly Docuseries, John Legend Lives Up to His Name
Among the bombshells dropped during the first of three nights of Lifetime’s scathing, six-part documentary Surviving R. Kelly, one thing was clearly missing: the voices of the more than 40 musicians who have worked with Kelly in the past. The voices of all but one of those musicians, that is.
EGOT winner (and Chrissy Teigen’s favorite person to troll) John Legend is the only musician who was willing to speak on camera against Kelly — a man whose celebrity has infamously kept him from facing any lasting repercussions for allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse.
The docuseries’ executive producer dream hampton told Shadow and Act that while she reached out to multiple celebrities in making the series, no one other than Legend was willing to speak. Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z, Eryka Badu, and Jimmy Fallon’s bandleader Questlove allegedly refused, with the latter reportedly telling the producer, “‘I would do anything for you but I can’t do this.'”
“It’s not because they support him,” hampton clarified, “it’s because it’s so messy and muddy. It’s that turning away that has allowed this to go on.” (Chance the Rapper also appears in Surviving, simply to announce his remorse for working with the singer.)
In the aired episodes, Legend calls out Kelly directly, telling the musician,”Time’s up,” and adding that the star’s alleged behavior has hurt so many people for so long. And while fans applauded the singer for his choice, Legend says he doesn’t want praise.
To everyone telling me how courageous I am for appearing in the doc, it didn't feel risky at all. I believe these women and don't give a fuck about protecting a serial child rapist. Easy decision.
— John Legend (@johnlegend) January 4, 2019
In a tweet shared while the episode aired, Legend told fans he thought speaking out was the right thing to do. “To everyone telling me how courageous I am for appearing in the doc, it didn’t feel risky at all,” he wrote. “I believe these women and don’t give a f*ck about protecting a serial child rapist. Easy decision.”
Although Kelly has not commented on the content of the docuseries, his lawyer released a statement ahead of Thursday’s first episode threatening to sue Lifetime in federal court over purportedly false claims.
(Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Glamour)