5 Feelings I Had While Watching "Surviving R. Kelly"

On Jan.3 Lifetime aired a documentary titled “Surviving R. Kelly” which brings to light the allegations against R. Kelly, an R&B singer. The documentary recounts events told by women who were previously involved with Kelly, families of women who are still involved with Kelly and artists who were willing to take a stand and speak out against him. When it first came out, many people took to the Internet to talk about how disgusted they were with R. Kelly, however, many fans of Kelly fought back and tried to defend him by claiming the documentary was just made to ruin his image. I encourage each of you to watch the documentary and decide if you believe what is said in it. These are the feelings that I personally had while watching the documentary.

1. Frustration: How is this man not in jail?

First and foremost I would like to ask why this man is not in jail?! After all of the allegations, how is he still walking around and performing and being praised? In this day and age, sexual assault should not be dismissed just because of the status of the person who committed the offense. Throughout the entire documentary, I was frustrated! How can the justice system fail the girls and their families? How can this man get away with these offenses? People go to jail for smaller offenses, even crimes they didn’t commit, but how can one man be charged with 21 counts of child pornography walk away guilt-free just because of who he is? The whole thing is mind-boggling.

2. Sadness: These women are suffering from Stockholm Syndrome

Many of the women were drawn in while they were young and were blinded by the success of R. Kelly, which made them believe they had to do anything he wanted just so they could be successful as well. Now that they have spent years with this man, they have developed what is known as Stockholm Syndrome (feelings of trust or affection felt in many cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim toward a captor). From the outside, we find it hard to see why the women stay, however, through interviews with the women who were formally under Kelly’s clutches, we see how attached they are to him. They even think about returning to Kelly despite him abusing and starving them.

3. Disturbance: Money really CAN buy anything

R. Kelly is able to get out of literally anything just by throwing money at the problem. The hush money keeps everyone in the operation quiet. The money keeps him out of every legal situation and he is able to get away with sexual assault on underage women just by using his success to cover it up. Kelly even tried to prevent the documentary from airing just because it would harm his reputation, and he claimed he would sue Lifetime. Thankfully his money could not keep the documentary from airing and now more people can be informed about what he does behind closed doors.

4. Disgust: Fans who support him just because of his music CAN'T be trusted

So many people, fans and artists support R. Kelly despite the allegations due to the fact that they enjoy his music or he has helped their careers. If it was someone else they would have listened to the vast amounts of allegations and would not be able to support the accused. Since they are fans they ignore the facts and just say the whole thing is a front to ruin his reputation. All I have to say is, "wow."

5. Happiness: Some of the parents got through to the kids

Since the girls that are with R. Kelly now are no longer under 18, they can’t be forced to come home to their parents. When I was watching the documentary, I could see the pain in each families' eyes and the feeling of helplessness when they knew they could not make their daughters do anything. When Dominique Gardner, a young girl who was involved with Kelly from the time she was 17, got in touch with her mother she broke down and wanted to get out, however, Kelly’s team intervened and prevented the reunion by accusing Dominique’s mother, Michelle Kramer, of trespassing. Through Kramer’s love for her daughter and her perseverance, she was able to rescue Dominique which made viewers so happy. Finally, after all of this darkness, there was some joy!

Again I strongly encourage everyone to watch the documentary for themselves before they defend R. Kelly. In 2019, there is no need for these women’s stories to stay in the dark. I know it takes a lot of courage to come out and fight a man as influential as R. Kelly, however, we can not let him or anyone else continue to get away with these crimes just because they are rich and famous.