Review written by Amelia Davis

in Real Talk

The new year has already jumped off to an interesting start as Lifetime released a the new docuseries titled “Surviving R. Kelly”. With a title like that you know that this is going to be a story that probably dives into whatever deep dark closet that the entertainment industry was hiding R. Kelly in. This documentary mini-series features interviews from brave women who have come forward to share their traumatizing personal experiences with R&B superstar R. Kelly. Many celebrities make appearances to talk of what they know or things they have seen working with R. Kelly; even his own family members chosen to step up and shed light on the abusive behaviors that have been swept under the rug until now.

There were a numerous events that foreshadowed the information presented in this television series and accusations of the R&B celebrity had been previously brought into the limelight. However, many of the accusations had been acquitted in court leaving the public with an overflow of pedophilic pee jokes that lacked substantial evidence for the public to fully digest. Robert Kelly came from Chicago and got his big break after winning $100,000 on a televised talent show which led to him being signed to Jive Records. The rumors of Robert hanging out around high schools began not much later following his big break which led to the “Pied Piper” nickname; a name for a leader who gets young people to follow.

The first episode introduces a few women who encountered Kelly with dreams of singing and musical stardom. One of those girls was soon to be superstar Aaliyah, she made claims in interviews that their relationship was just a very close friendship that raised a lot of questions at the time. It wasn’t until the two were touring together when the secret was exposed that they were having intercourse that was followed by the two getting married in 1994 and having the marriage certificate changed to make the 15 year old star appear to be 18 on the marriage certificate. The marriage was annulled months later.

That was just the beginning story of R. Kelly’s pedophilic nature and it continues with multiple girls with similar stories of teenage girls’ aspirations for careers in music that became overshadowed by R. Kelly’s sexual desires for star struck teenage girls. The documentary features commentaries from women like Jovante Cunningham and Lizzette Martinez, who were just girls at the time, having their dreams taken advantage of in exchange for the sexual demands of an unexpected predator.

The brave women came forward to share vivid experiences of the layers of abuse, manipulation, isolation, and grotesque pornographic fantasies that were played out and often recorded on video with or without consent. R. Kelly eventually procured a surprise marriage to Andrea Lee who was a 19 year old dancer, but the erotic and erratic behavior did not stop there. Another of his dancers brought her 12 year old niece to meet with R. Kelly feeling that he could help the girl mold her promising career. The dancer would later learn that her 12 year old niece had been involved in a child porn video that captured Robert peeing on the girl. When the R. Kelly sex tapes came out he was giving out up to 6 figure settlement deals with minors who filed lawsuits while he was having them sign NDA agreements.
“Robert has a problem,” said Wendy Williams, and I agree. Having multiple child pornagraphy charges, evidence of abuse, staged false statements from girls, and multiple accusations of running a sex cult; it is beyond time to #MuteRKelly. As all of the sexual allegations have been coming forward, the actual timing of these horrific stories are also coinciding with the releases of R. Kelly’s greatest hits. So the general population was eating up the music while turning a blind eye to the rumors, we are lucky to now live in such age of matriarchal and feminist movements such as #MeToo created to empower women. It is so important that we protect people from abusers and build awareness against the sick minded celebrities and entertainment professionals such as R. Kelly.

Overall documentary Review: A, for the amount of research and courage it took to make a documentary.

Review on R. Kelly: F-

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