'Surviving R. Kelly:' Years of Accusations Finally Being Addressed in Six Part Documentary

It all started August 1994, when rapper and songwriter, Robert Sylvester Kelly, or “R. Kelly,” married a 15-year-old girl, lied about it, and made her put her age as 18 on the marriage license. R. Kelly has had many problems in the past, including child pornography, illegal marriage and sexual assault, which all started in the late 1900s and continuing onto now. The rapper is in the news now because there is a six-part documentary detailing his sexual assault allegations, which aired on Jan. 3-5, 2019 on Lifetime.

“We’ve been working for over a year to bring forth the stories of these women,” executive producer Joel Karsberg stated in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. His coworker, executive producer and filmmaker, Dream Hampton went on to say, “Some very brave black women have trusted us with their stories, their truth and their trauma. They are survivors and I’m honored to share their stories with the world.” Since 2000, Kelly has been accused of sexual assault with not only adult women but young teenagers too. Even though Kelly isn’t the first celebrity accused of sexual assault, more and more victims arise each year, and this time they are finally putting a stop to it.

What sparked Lifetime to pick up this story was the giant ‘Me Too’ movement pushing an end to it. The ‘Me Too’ movement was founded to help survivors of sexual abuse have a voice and get justice for what happened to them. The movement is particularly interested in women of color from low-income places. Victims have been coming forward for years, telling their stories, which causes a chain reaction and more people speak out. Celebrities have also been a part of the ‘Me Too’ movement; for example, Gabrielle Union and Terry Crews have spoken about their sexual assault ordeals. 

Since Kelly has had more and more allegations come up in the past year, many celebrities are stopping communications with the rapper. Lady Gaga, who released a song with Kelly titled “Do What U Want (With My Body)” has been removed from streaming platforms, like iTunes and Spotify. Gaga tweeted, “I stand by anyone who has ever been the victim of sexual assault,” with the picture shown below:


Courtesy: Lady Gaga's Twitter

Kelly has taken on many proteges in his almost 30-year career in the music industry. Many of those proteges were under the age of 18 and have come forward stating that Kelly sexually abused them throughout their time together. Some girls were even held in a “sex cult” controlled by Kelly. He enticed his victims with a promise of a successful music career and then threatened them if they told anyone about how he treated them. In a BuzzFeed News article, some parents recount their stories and each family felt that their daughters weren’t the same anymore. “It was as if she was brainwashed,” one family stated; their daughter was still in contact with them, but she didn’t see anything wrong with the way Kelly was treating her.

The documentary sheds light on all of the heinous acts that Kelly has been accused of and more. There are some triggers in the documentary, but if you have the stomach, it is available on the Lifetime website. It’s 2019, time’s up.