On Thursday night, Lifetime premiered its highly-anticipated docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly,” which delves into the singer’s history of alleged physical and emotional abuse of women. And Twitter had a lot to say about the series’ revelations.
The first night of the three-night, six-part event featured one-on-one interviews with Kelly’s brothers Carey and Bruce Kelly; his former tour manager and personal assistant Demetrius Smith; music producer Craig Williams and a host of journalists and clinical psychologists.
It also included sit-downs with several accusers, including Jovante Cunningham, Lizzette Martinez, Lisa Van Allen and R. Kelly’s ex-wife Andrea Kelly.
The first two parts of the special revealed R. Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, was molested as a child for years and detailed his rise to stardom. As the musician gained notoriety, several of his colleagues and former employees said he often visited his former high school, Kenwood High School in Chicago, as an adult and often had young girls at his studio and on his tour buses.
“You can clearly see that they were babies,” Williams recalled. “That was something I didn’t want to be around.”
R. Kelly’s accusers called him “controlling” and a “mass manipulator” as they recounted their alleged abuse. Allen, who said she met the singer at a video shoot, claims he forced her to have sex with a girl she later found out was 15-years-old. Allen was 17-years-old at the time. Martinez, who was also met R. Kelly before her 18th birthday, said she contracted mononucleosis from the singer-songwriter.
During the premiere, many took to Twitter to share their thoughts. Several said they were “disturbed” and “disgusted” after watching the tearful interviews and accounts of alleged sexual and mental abuse by R. Kelly.
Some even said they had to turn it off or couldn’t watch at all.
A number of people were particularly stunned by the claim that Cunningham, a former backup singer, said she saw R. Kelly and an underaged Aaliyah having sex on a tour bus.
Many commended the accusers for sharing their stories and uplifted all victims of sexual assault.
And a few denounced the docuseries for being based on “false allegations.”
Despite the accusations, R. Kelly is not facing any criminal charges and is not known to be under investigation. He has also denied all claims of sexual abuse.
“Surviving R. Kelly,” produced by dream hampton, will continue on Lifetime at 9 p.m. ET Friday, Jan. 4 and Saturday, Jan. 5.
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