Lady Gaga’s 2013 collaboration with R. Kelly is more relevant than ever, CNN is reporting. Gaga released the track “Do What U Want,” featuring vocals from R. Kelly, around six years ago. While this past year has seen new heights for her career with the release of the critically-acclaimed film A Star is Born, a documentary detailing R. Kelly’s alleged sexual abuse is reminding the public of her past work with the singer. Gaga began to receive even more backlash when a quote she gave — during a press conference in Japan, in 2013 — began to re-circulate.
“R. Kelly and I have sometimes very untrue things written about us, so in a way this was a bond between us,” she was quoted as saying at the time. “That we were able to say, the public, they can have our bodies, but they cannot have our mind or our heart. It was a really natural collaboration.”
A controversial music video starring Gaga and R. Kelly was canceled before its release, but the duo still offered up sexually charged performances of their duet on shows like Saturday Night Live. Gaga herself is a sexual assault survivor, and even penned the heart-wrenching song “Til It Happens to You” with Dianne Warren. The song was written for the documentary The Hunting Ground, which was a film covering rape and assault on college campuses. The song was nominated for an Oscar, and Gaga gave an emotional performance of it at the 2016 Academy Awards, bringing the audience to tears. Vice President Joe Biden introduced Gaga to the stage, and fellow sexual assault survivors joined Gaga on stage for the song’s powerful ending.
Lady Gaga once said she & R. Kelly had a bond. After #SurvivingRKelly, fans wonder if the advocate for abuse survivors will now condemn him. By @LisaFranceCNN: https://t.co/ZyGDI6cAPd pic.twitter.com/q4CYh8wag4— Eliott C. McLaughlin (@ByEliott) January 9, 2019
Many find that Gaga’s work with R. Kelly sends a contradictory message. The six-part documentary Surviving R. Kelly aired on Lifetime between January 3 and January 5, renewing interest in R. Kelly’s various controversies. The documentary includes testimonies from multiple accusers, as well as those who have worked closely with the artist, and have alleged knowledge of the situation. Since the documentary’s premiere, many celebrities have spoken out on their social media platforms to denounce the singer. Gaga, however, has yet to address the controversy — despite an outcry from Twitter users to do so.
“I would like to know what @ladygaga, who has been a firm advocate of abuse survivors, has to say about the R Kelly fiasco and why she collaborated with him after years of abuse allegations were made against him,” one tweet read. “Its not a surprise to us. It shouldn’t be to her either.”
“@ladygaga as a survivor, your words condemning @rkelly would mean the world,” another tweet read. “but how can you be so selective with who is worthy of justice? black girls lives are being ruined by the man you refuse to condemn. you’ve lost my trust, and the trust of survivors around the world.”
Authorities have reportedly reopened investigations into R. Kelly following the documentary’s release.