Erykah Badu has defended R Kelly after a TV documentary series reiterated multiple allegations of sexual abuse against the R‘n’B singer. Kelly has repeatedly denied all claims.
During a performance at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago on 19 January, Badu told the crowd: “I dunno how everybody else feel about it but I’m putting up a prayer right now for R. I hope he sees the light of day if he done all those things that we’ve seen on TV and heard those ladies talk about. I hope he sees the light of day and comes forward.”
She responded to boos from the audience: “What y’all say, [expletive] him? That’s not love. That’s not unconditional love. But what if one of the people that was assaulted by R Kelly grows up to be an offender, we gonna crucify them?”
Badu continued: “They ’bout to R Kelly me to death on the internet. I just want peace and light for everybody and healing for those who are hurt because everyone involved has been hurt, victimised in some kinda way. Love for everybody.”
Badu responded to criticism on Sunday. “I love you. Unconditionally,” she tweeted, in remarks apparently directed at Kelly. “That doesn’t mean I support your poor choices. I want healing for you and anyone you have hurt as a result of you being hurt. Is that strange to you?”
She concluded: “That’s all I’ve ever said. Anything else has been fabricated or taken out of context.”
On Instagram, she captioned a photo: “Having eyes that can see all points of view is a blessing ... and a curse in the court of public opinion.”
Responding to a fan who accused her of supporting Kelly, Badu said: “Correction, love has little to do with supporting others’ bad choices. Love is wisdom.”
Badu was among a number of celebrities who declined to appear in the Lifetime documentary ‘Surviving R Kelly’, according to executive producer dream hampton. Jay Z, Mary J Blige, Lil Kim, Dave Chappelle, Lady Gaga and Questlove allegedly turned down interviews for the six-part series, which aired in early January.
At the 2015 Soul Train awards, Badu introduced Kelly and said he “has done more for black people than anyone”, Pitchfork reports.
Kelly’s alleged history of sexual abuse — largely involving young black girls and women — first surfaced in 2002.
In January 2018, Badu gave an interview to New York magazine in which she declared her love for Bill Cosby and said: “I see good in everybody. I saw something good in Hitler,” and praised his paintings.
In a subsequent interview with the Guardian, Badu said she didn’t regret her comments.
Kelly’s long-term record label, RCA, a subsidiary of Sony, this weekend announced that it was terminating its relationship with the singer. The documentary prompted protests outside Sony’s New York headquarters last week.
The action followed a wave of disavowals from the embattled star. Kelly’s daughter, Buku Abi, described him as “a monster”.
Stars including Lady Gaga and Celine Dion have removed their duets with Kelly from streaming platforms. The French band Phoenix apologised for inviting Kelly to perform with them at the 2013 Coachella festival.
Kelly’s ex-manager, Henry James Mason, turned himself into police in Georgia after a warrant was issued for his arrest for allegedly making “terroristic threats and acts” against the family of Joycelyn Savage, whose family claim that she has been brainwashed by Kelly and is being held captive in his alleged “cult”.
Prosecutors in Chicago and Atlanta are appealing for new information about Kelly’s alleged abuses. Throughout 2017 and 2018, Kelly was accused of holding five women in a sex “cult”, with a former girlfriend alleging that he had sexual contact with girls as young as 14.
In October, his ex-wife Andrea Kelly accused him of domestic violence. Earlier in his career, he was tried and acquitted on child pornography charges. Kelly has long denied any wrongdoing, even recording a song professing his innocence, singing: “I’m so falsely accused.”