The Lifetime docu-series “Surviving R. Kelly” sheds new light on allegations that have circled the R&B star for decades. Maeve McDermott explains.
Kim Kardashian West is trying to set the record straight about her husband’s most recent controversial comment.
After a clip went viral of West seemingly referencing R. Kelly while arguing that art should be separated from the artist, Kardashian West responded to critics Monday night. The rapper also mentioned the upcoming Michael Jackson documentary, “Leaving Neverland,” set to air on HBO this spring.
“He didn’t even say R. Kelly’s name,” she told Andy Cohen on “Watch What Happens Live.” “He was referencing himself and used an analogy about Michael Jackson because they were playing a Michael Jackson song next in the service we were at. And so he didn’t even mention (R. Kelly). He wasn’t even thinking that. People were jumping to so many conclusions and trying to put him in a whole other mind state and he was like ‘that wasn’t even what I was thinking.’ “
“They just gonna pull up full documentaries on him,” the rapper said. “Then they gonna come with the Michael (Jackson) documentary. … We can all enjoy all their music all we want. I thought I wasn’t going to go there today. If we’re gonna tear down artists, let’s go ahead and take (Leonardo) da Vinci out the Lourve while we’re at it. Let’s take down all the art.”
Earlier Monday, Kardashian West was quick to defend her husband amid growing social media backlash.
“I’m going to nip this in the bud right now,” she tweeted. “Kanye was speaking about his own experience of everyone quick to say they are cancelling him because of differences in opinion & not being perfect. The analogies were in context to his own experiences, not defending anyone else.”
She continued: “I want to make it very clear, he is not condoning anyone’s actions or unacceptable disgusting behavior. My husband’s words are being taken out of context due to timing.”
USA TODAY has reached out to West’s representative. A representative for Kardashian West referred USA TODAY to West’s camp.
West previously collaborated with Kelly in 2012 on his compilation album “Kanye West Presents Good Music Cruel Summer.”
His statements regarding Kelly’s music spurred backlash from social media users.
“Kanye officially cancelled in my book,” on Twitter user wrote.
“Why couldn’t Kanye just have his Sunday Service and keep his support for R. Kelly to himself? Lord this man is exhausting,” another user said.
Another argued: “So we have to remove Da Vinci from the Louvre before we can address R Kelly? A man currently abusing women. Sure thing, Kanye.”
Others defended the rapper’s comments. One user said R. Kelly and Michael Jackson were “pieces of garbage (but that) doesn’t mean we can’t listen to their music.”
Meanwhile, some musical artists have begun pulling their own collaborations with Kelly from streaming platforms; Lady Gaga removed her song “Do What U Want,” co-written by R. Kelly, from her “ARTPOP” album.
“I stand behind these women 1000%, believe them, know they are suffering and in pain, and feel strongly that their voices should be heard and taken seriously,” Gaga, 32, wrote Wednesday in a statement on Twitter. “What I am hearing about the allegations against R Kelly is absolutely horrifying and indefensible.
“As a victim of sexual assault myself, I made both the song and the video at a dark time in my life, my intention was 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,” she continued. “The song is called ‘Do What U Want (With My Body),’ I think it’s clear how explicitly twisted my thinking was at the time.”
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