The series, Surviving R. Kelly, made its debut Thursday night (Jan. 3) despite the R&B singer threatening legal action. The hashtag surrounding the dialogue that the docuseries sparked instantly began trending with countless weighing in to react to the film's emotionally raw content.
The docuseries includes more than 50 interviews with his alleged victims, former collaborators and family members. As expected, it has garnered a slew of reactions from people across the board, including from a handful of celebrities such as John Legend, who appeared in the special, Jemele Hill, Questlove and Kerry Washington, among others.
Legend took to Twitter to react to people praising him for his involvement, brushing off the compliments and referring to his participation as an "easy decision."
"To everyone telling me how courageous I am for appearing in the doc, it didn't feel risky at all," he said in a tweet. "I believe these women and don't give a f—k about protecting a serial child rapist. Easy decision."
It was reported that filmmaker and executive show runner dream hampton had difficulty finding celebrities connected to Kelly at some point in their careers who agreed to participate in the series. In addition to citing JAY-Z, Lady Gaga, Mary J. Blige, Lil' Kim, Dave Chappelle and Erykah Badu as passing on the documentary, hampton also named Questlove, who promptly shared his reasoning for opting out.
"I always thought Kels was trash," Questlove wrote on Twitter. "My reason for declining the RKelly docu that I support 10000000 percent is I didn't wanna be in the 'good times' portion of the doc, like stanning for his 'genius.' I was asked to talk about his genius. I do not nor have I EVER stanned for him"
He further elaborated, adding, "Just wanna make that abundantly clear in a non 'he doth protest too much' way. That [hampton] quote makes it look like I'm protecting him. I'm thinking 'damn I don't wanna be the one guy I always am in documentaries fawning over someone I detest.' So make ZERO mistake on my positioning."
The Roots member later deleted the tweets after hampton responded, saying she never once asked him to comment on Kelly's "genius."
The second and third installments of the series are slated to air Friday and Saturday on Lifetime.
Take a look at some reactions from Surviving R. Kelly thus far in the tweets below.
We should all thank my friend @dreamhampton for her very necessary work to create #SurvivingRKelly. These survivors deserved to be lifted up and heard. I hope it gets them closer to some kind of justice.— John Legend (@johnlegend) January 4, 2019
To everyone telling me how courageous I am for appearing in the doc, it didn't feel risky at all. I believe these women and don't give a fuck about protecting a serial child rapist. Easy decision.— John Legend (@johnlegend) January 4, 2019
Questlove said he was approached to talk about the “Genius” of R Kelly. He didn’t want to that’s why he declined to take part in the 3 part documentary. The Director of the documentary Dream Hampton tweeted this though..... and Quest deleted his tweet 😫 @tymusic @Trinajc_ pic.twitter.com/gfkKd9xaaB— Funk Butcher (@FunkButcher) January 3, 2019
We both deleted our tweets because tonight isn't about this, it's about these survivors. We deleted the tweets because we've been friends for 25 years and it was stupid.— dream hampton (@dreamhampton) January 3, 2019
If you look back at the reporting during the R Kelly-Aaliyah marriage, it was a massive failure. Zero understanding of sexual abuse. Nobody treated this seriously. It was a collective shrug #SurvivingRKelly— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) January 4, 2019
The way R. Kelly songs can be tied back to certain victims of his is one of the many reasons his catalogue is ruined for me forever. But your wedding DJ refuses to acknowledge that so. #SurvivingRKelly— Y’all Won (@SylviaObell) January 4, 2019
R. Kelly factoid: We did a sketch on Chappelle's Show where Dave absurdly argued in court that R. Kelly's pee could have been digital. Three years later, his lawyers actually argued the same thing and beat the case. 😝 #SurvivingRKelly— Neal Brennan (@nealbrennan) January 4, 2019
R. Kelly maintains a record deal with RCA. He even inked a contract last year to play MSG. He has not faced real consequences from corporate interests or justice systems. It's time for R. Kelly and his enablers to be held accountable. #SurvivingRKelly #ProtectBlackWomen— Rashad Robinson (@rashadrobinson) January 4, 2019
As much as I want folks to see the #SurvivingRKelly documentary. I recognize it might be a lot for those of us who have experience sexual violence. Here are some tips for watching (or not) tonight. #metooMVMT 💕 https://t.co/RYyHf4Ss0U— Tarana (@TaranaBurke) January 3, 2019
”There are no big paychecks for these women. We can't pay them to be in a documentary. There are no endorsement deals. This kind of exposure doesn't lead to some great something. I admire them so much and have all the respect in the world for them,” @dreamhampton #SurvivingRKelly— Mona Eltahawy (@monaeltahawy) January 4, 2019
It's amazing that R. K elly is admitting to being sexually abused as a child and wants to be believed. Yet, he tells us that his survivors are lying. #SurvivingRKelly— Preston Mitchum (@PrestonMitchum) January 4, 2019
Ten years ago I was part of an attempt to get R. Kelly’s music off the radio during his trial for child pornography. We were ridiculed and laughed at. Happy to see #SurvivingRKelly expose his long record of abuse and the ways we’ve been complicit in it.— jelani cobb (@jelani9) January 4, 2019
The day after BET aired my R Kelly interview, his people called BET and threatened to sue if they aired it again. On what grounds? I have no idea. But BET quickly capitulated and put the tape on the shelf, never to air again. #SurvivingRKelly— Touré (@Toure) January 4, 2019
A lot of adults failed Aaliyah. #SurvivingRKelly— Angela Davis (@TheKitchenista) January 4, 2019
Stellar journalism, stellar filmmaking. But furthermore, just grateful for your resolve to amplify survivor stories and the truth. Thank you and everyone involved for believing black women @dreamhampton. #SurvivingRKelly— Christina Coleman (@ChrissyCole) January 4, 2019