When most celebrities avoided appearing in the explosive Lifetime documentary, Surviving R. Kelly, John Legend took a risk and lent his voice to the expose of Kelly’s alleged sexual misconduct. While Legend has never been shy about his support for Kelly’s alleged victims, he revealed to Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live exactly why he chose to appear in the docuseries.
Legend was the sole major musical artist who was interviewed for the Lifetime series. In a tweet in early January, the singer says that the decision to appear in the show was an easy one to make.
“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 f**k about protecting a serial child rapist. Easy decision,” he wrote.
But beyond believing the women who accused Kelly of misconduct, Legend told the Bravo host that his relationship with Dream Hampton, the show’s executive producer, pushed him over the edge. Hampton said that she tried to find celebrities willing to appear in the docuseries, including Lady Gaga, Erykah Badu, Celine Dion, Dave Chappelle, and Jay-Z. Despite the fact that some of these people have openly criticized Kelly in the past, none of them would appear in the documentary.
“I’m friends with the director, her name is Dream Hampton. She’s awesome,” he said. “We worked together on ending mass incarceration. I respect her work a lot, and she asked me to do it.”
At the same time, the singer says that he doesn’t judge those who declined to appear.
“There’s all kinds of reasons you don’t do it,” he said about appearing in documentaries.
Legend added that there’s a second reason he decided to be a part of the expose. He says he is friends with people who are part of the “Mute R. Kelly” movement and his support could help the cause.
“They work with rape victims in Chicago. I knew that I could lend my voice to these people who have been hurt.”
Legend appeared on the show with his wife, Chrissy Teigen. Although she had no part in the documentary, she says that she supports her husband’s decision to appear in the Lifetime series and expressed support for the women who came out with their stories.
Kelly has faced renewed backlash after the series aired. Today, it was announced that the R&B singer would be dropped by his RCA/Sony label, according to Variety. His back catalog will remain with the label. The company hasn’t made an official announcement, but Kelly was removed from the label’s website and a source confirmed the news.