R.Kelly, the R&B singer who’s quickly become one of the most controversial figures in music, will be the subject of a new Lifetime documentary. The network announced Monday, May 7, that the decades-long list of allegations against Kelly will be discussed in a documentary series and a feature film.
Lifetime is relaunching its Emmy Award-winning campaign “Stop Violence Against Women,” and the Kelly series will be the first part. According to the press release, the currently untitled project will shed light on the singer’s “history of alleged abuse of underage African American girls” — allegations that go back almost two decades. The network’s announcement comes as Women of Color of the #TimesUp movement partner with the online campaign #MuteRKelly to insist that corporations cut ties with the 51-year-old star who’s since been accused of running a “sex cult.”
“What we’ve seen—in the last year in particular—is the tremendous power of women’s voices when given the opportunity to share their truth,” said Brie Miranda Bryant, SVP, Unscripted Development and Programming, Lifetime. “But there are important stories still untold, stories of bravery, resilience and defiance that demand to be heard. This is one of those stories.”
It was just last week that BuzzFeed published an exposé from reporter Jim DeRogatis, who’s written about the allegations against Kelly for years. The report, along with BuzzFeed’s Marisa Carroll, talked to Lizzette Martinez, who claimed that a then-28-year-old Kelly started a relationship with her in 1995 when she was 17.
Lifetime is also partnering with multiple organizations to spread awareness, empower women, and provide healing tools and support for women in need of assistance, including outreach and resources to young women in high schools and colleges.
“Some very brave black women have trusted us with their stories, their truth and their trauma,” said documentary series executive producer dream hampton. “They are survivors and I’m honored to share their stories with the world.”