Lifetime and Dream Hampton’s Surviving R. Kelly chronicled the troubled past of singer/songwriter R. Kelly. Included in the multi-part documentary were many individuals, including Kelly’s ex-wife Andrea Kelly and celebrities who spoke out against Kelly.
The 6-hour #SurvivingRKelly includes over 50 interviews. The docuseries will air in three installments: Thursday, January 3rd at 9 p.m.; Friday, January 4th at 9 p.m.; and Saturday, January 5th at 9 p.m. pic.twitter.com/iUveWIal2Q— dream hampton (@dreamhampton) January 3, 2019
News of the hotly anticipated docuseries rocked the world as Hampton made it her mission to bring light to the stories of the ladies involved. “We have evidence of him [with] underage girls […] This is a man who has built systems around his abuse, which is something that you’ll see in the docuseries, Hampton said to Shadow and Act.“
She continued, “There are whole systems in place: housing, runners, rules. There are women decades apart testifying to the kind of rules that they were subjected to living with this man, dealing with this man; there are hundreds, probably thousands of tapes made of them [by R. Kelly] without their permission. He’s also deeply manipulative; these are women who didn’t know each other, 20 years apart, and they’d be talking about being made to sign false confessions and he’d say, ‘This is my insurance that you don’t hurt me the way these other women have hurt me.’ So, I knew we were dealing with someone that we may not want to dismiss. He’s dangerous,” Hampton said.
While there have been years of allegations towards Kelly, including the infamous tape in which a man who is assumed to be Kelly, is seen with an underage girl, a huge portion of his die-hard fans who refuse to let go of their love for him, nor do they choose to believe what the “When A Woman’s Fed Up” singer is being accused of.
“In the docuseries, [journalist and filmmaker] Nelson George talks about why it’s so difficult for us to turn away from someone like R. Kelly because we don’t necessarily associate the songs with him, we associate them with things in our life. So it’s not when we hear ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ we’re thinking about him, we’re thinking about our niece’s 8th-grade graduation, or hear ‘Step in the Name of Love,’ it’s our cousin’s wedding,” said hampton.
She also explained the struggles of confirming celebrity friends and longtime collaborators to participate in the Lifetime series. “John Legend was the only one,” hampton confessed. “I asked Jay-Z, I asked Mary J. Blige, I asked Lil Kim, Erykah Badu, Dave Chappelle…” But they all said no. “I mean, most people just don’t want to touch it. I remember Ahmir [“Questlove” Thompson] was like, ‘I would do anything for you but I can’t do this.’ It’s not because they support him, it’s because it’s so messy and muddy. It’s that turning away that has allowed this to go on.”
One other celebrity that accepted hampton’s invitation to participate in the project was Breakfast Club radio show host and author, Charlamagne Tha God. The Shook Ones author has been extremely critical of Kelly many times in the past, including him in his Donkey Of The Day segment numerous times. However, his appearance on the docuseries caused a rift with many viewers on social media due to his past accusation of rape, which he himself has addressed in his book Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It.
Not only did the social media users question his past allegations, but also many remembered his past questionable tweets about Kelly, specifically his tape, and chose to remind Hampton of his comments. “R. Kelly looks 20 something. The fountain of youth can clearly be found within teenage (explicit),” Charlamagne wrote in one tweet. In another tweet, he referenced former President Obama’s daughters, who were underage at the time. “R. Kelly is thinking, Baracks daughters can get it,” he wrote.
Not amused by Charlamagne’s past comments, users spoke their mind, which eventually got back to the eyes and ears of hampton. “[Charlamagne] got his a** on #SurvivingRKelly acting like he is an ally and been at the forefront of addressing R. Kelly’s abuse,” one user wrote, “But he still found it funny to complement him on having the ‘best celebrity tape of all time’ they continued, referencing another old tweet written by Charlamagne.
Longtime rival Mister Cee (former Hot 97 DJ) also chimed in, posting a statement on his Instagram account.
Upon hearing about it, Hampton addressed the people on social media. “I’m just seeing Charlamagne’s 2010 tweet tonight,” Hampton tweeted. “I interviewed him before the story abt him broke but should have cut him altogether, rather than limit his appearance. It was a huge mistake. I prob spent more time arguing to cut Bruce. Again, mistake. #SurvivingRKelly.”
I’m just seeing Charlamagne’s 2010 tweet tonight. I interviewed him before the story abt him broke but should have cut him altogether, rather than limit his appearance. It was a huge mistake. I prob spent more time arguing to cut Bruce. Again, mistake. #SurvivingRKelly— dream hampton (@dreamhampton) January 6, 2019
She then further addressed it in an interview with radio show The Takeaway saying, “The most important criticism I’ve gotten is having Charlamagne, who is a radio personality in New York City, on to talk about R. Kelly when he himself was accused about 10, 15 years ago […]. So, that criticism is one that I have to look at,” said the executive producer.
“We definitely limited the amount of time that he got,” Hampton continued. “He was so clear and so forceful in his condemnation of R. Kelly. If I could have interviewed him after the story broke about his own allegations [..] I would have asked him to reckon with his own past on camera. But I wish that I had not included him in this documentary.”