Lady Gaga has apologised for working with R Kelly.
Kelly has been accused by numerous women of violent and controlling behaviour, including keeping them, some while under the age of consent, in what’s been described as a “sex cult”. A documentary, Surviving R Kelly , features testimonies from a number of the women. Yesterday, it was reported that new abuse investigations were being launched by prosecutors in Chicago and Atlanta.
Kelly has denied any wrongdoing, and last year recorded a song professing his innocence, on which he sings : “I’m so falsely accused.”
In 2013, Gaga recorded the duet ‘Do What U Want’ with Kelly. She has now apologised for working with him, saying: “I’m sorry, both for my poor judgment when I was young, and for not speaking out sooner.”
She intends to remove the songs from download and streaming services.
“I stand behind these women 1,000 per cent, believe them, know they are suffering and in pain, and feel strongly that their voices should be heard and taken seriously,” she wrote on Instagram. “What I am hearing about the allegations against R Kelly is absolutely horrifying and indefensible.”
Gaga says she wrote the song, whose chorus line runs, “You can’t have my heart and you won’t use my mind but / do what you want with my body”, was intended to “create something extremely defiant and provocative, because I was angry and still hadn’t processed the trauma that had occurred in my own life”, referring to a sexual assault that she suffered.
She describes her thinking at the time as “explicitly twisted” and a “confused posttraumatic state”.
Gaga is the most high profile of Kelly’s former collaborators to condemn his actions. Dream Hampton, the producer of ‘Surviving R Kelly’, said she asked numerous celebrities, including Lady Gaga, to appear in the documentary and discuss Kelly, but they declined. “I asked Jay Z. I asked Mary J Blige. I asked Lil Kim, Erykah Badu, Dave Chappelle ... Most people just don’t want to touch it,” she said. “I remember Ahmir [Thompson, AKA Questlove] 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.”
Soul singer John Legend did appear in the documentary, later tweeting: “To everyone telling me how courageous I am for appearing in the doc, it didn’t feel risky at all ... Easy decision.”
Chance the Rapper also appeared in the documentary, saying, “We’re programmed to really be hypersensitive to black male oppression” as a reason many chose to give Kelly the benefit of the doubt.
He later added on Twitter: “I apologise to all his survivors for working with him.”
Others have commented in the wake of the documentary, with R‘n’B singers Ne-Yo and Tank, and rappers Meek Mill and 6lack all condemning Kelly’s alleged behaviour.