John Legend was the only other musical artist to participate in Lifetime’s new R. Kelly docu-series, Surviving R. Kelly. According to filmmaker and executive producer dream hampton, she had reached out to many of Kelly’s other contemporaries, including Mary J. Blige, Lil’ Kim, Erykah Badu, Dave Chappelle, Lady Gaga, and JAY-Z, but all of them passed on the opportunity. “I mean, most people just don’t want to touch it,” hampton explained.
But Legend was willing to touch it, and he’s earned much appreciation for doing so. However, as Legend explains, it wasn’t a touch decision: “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.”
Legend also encouraged his Twitter followers “to support the work of people like my friends at @ALongWalkHome who have been speaking out on behalf of the survivors for a long time.”
Questlove was another name mentioned by hampton as having opted against appearing in the docu-series. However, The Roots drummer said his decision had nothing to do with his opinion of Kelly. “I always thought Kels was trash,” Questlove wrote in a since-deleted tweet. “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’. I was asked to talk about his genius. I do not nor have I EVER stanned for him.”
The first episode of the docu-series premiered on Lifetime on Thursday night and chronicles the numerous allegations of sexual assault and pedophilia alleged against the singer. Despite threats of a lawsuit from Kelly, the three-night event will continue at the same time on Friday, January 4th and Saturday, January 5th, with each night featuring a two one-hour episodes.