“It’s too late. They should have did this s__ 30 years ago.”
– R. Kelly, Facebook Live 
The Lifetime channel recently aired a documentary series called “Surviving R. Kelly” which explores the R&B singer-songwriter’s reputation for preying on young girls . The program contains statements by several of Kelly’s underage victims. The young women describe having been groomed, abused, then finally abandoned.
A number of journalists have reported on R. Kelly’s reprehensible behavior. Kelly was acquitted of child pornography in 2008, though a tape allegedly showed him having sex with and urinating on a 14 y.o.
The program sheds light not only on the singer’s pattern of predation, but the roots of this behavior. It, also, exposes the complicity of others in the music business.
In an interview in 2012, R. Kelly described having been molested by family members between the ages of 7 and about 14. Kelly dropped out of school in his senior year to pursue a musical career. Tragically, his power over victims grew as his fame increased.
When R. Kelly met singer Aaliyah, she was only 12 y.o. He wrote the title track of her first album, Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number. In retrospect, that title is telling. Aaliyah was 15 y.o. and already pregnant by R. Kelly when they wed. The marriage was annulled a short two months later.
Singer-songwriter John Legend (who appears in the series) is one who has taken a firm stand against such behavior.
“To everyone telling me how courageous I am for appearing in the doc, it didn’t feel risky to me at all. I believe these women and don’t give a f__ about protecting a serial child rapist. Easy decision.”
– John Legend, Twitter 
The question now is whether the documentary series will make any difference to R. Kelly fans.
 The Fader, “R. Kelly boasts ‘it’s too late’ to end his career in leaked Facebook Live footage” by David Renshaw, 5/23/18, https://www.thefader.com/2018/12/28/bad-bunnys-third-eye-will-actually-predict-your-future.
 Daily Beast, “ ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ Exposes How the R&B Singer Got Away With Preying on Girls for Decades” by Amy Zimmerman, 1/3/19, https://www.thedailybeast.com/surviving-r-kelly-exposes-how-the-randb-singer-got-away-with-sexually-abusing-girls-for-decades.
 People, “John Legend Speaks Out Against R. Kelly in New Documentary about Alleged Abuse” by Janine Rubenstein, 1/3/19, https://people.com/music/john-legend-speaks-out-against-r-kelly-lifetime-documentary/.
Since this post was first published, R. Kelly has been indicted in Illinois on 10 counts of sexual abuse involving four victims (three of them underage). R. Kelly denies the charges although a new sex tape appears to have surfaced.
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