As discussion around sexual assault has evolved, people once termed victims are now survivors. The Lifetime documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly” bluntly centers on that perspective shift, but with more nuance than you might expect from the cable network.
A six-part series documenting decades of allegations against the R&B star, “Surviving R. Kelly” is a horror story. Here, the monster isn’t just the titular man, but the people and systems around him that allegedly continue to enable his abuse of underage girls.
Executive producer Dream Hampton brings together an astonishing number of interview subjects to tell the story — not just survivors and their family members, but abuse experts as well as former members of Kelly’s inner circle, including his brothers, his ex-wife, and the former associate who says he personally falsified the papers that infamously let Kelly marry late singer Aaliyah at the age of 15.
Does “Surviving R. Kelly” present enough evidence to truly cancel the man? The rise of the #MuteRKelly movement and an increase in notable figures within the music industry speaking out indicate that these allegations are being taken more seriously — if not by the court system, then at least by those who previously ignored them.
Kelly and his legal team are threatening to sue over the show’s allegations, as the show documents in its final episodes, but real change seems possible.
Watch “Surviving R. Kelly” on Lifetime.
Read the story at IndieWire.
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