The R. Kelly saga is coming to Lifetime in January and on Monday (Oct. 22) the first trailer for the docuseries Surviving R. Kelly provided a preview into the dark recesses the three-part investigation will delve into. “There’s a difference between R. Kelly and Robert,” an unseen woman says in a voiceover in the two-minute clip. “R. Kelly’s this fun, laughing, loving guy. But Robert is the devil.”
The preview recounts Kelly’s early legal troubles in a child pornography case in which he was ultimately acquitted following allegations that he videotaped himself having sex with an underage girl, juxtaposing images of the singer on stage performing with pictures of him in prison orange and in court. The six-hour show will kick off on Jan. 3 at 9 p.m ET and continue on Jan. 4, concluding on Jan. 5 at the same time.
Footage includes protests against the singer by the #MuteRKelly movement, which has spearheaded a campaign to pressure the singer’s label to drop him and promoters to stop booking his shows, as well as tape of police investigating allegations that Kelly is masterminding a so-called “sex cult” in which he’s allegedly holding a number of young women under his sway using controlling tactics.
Singer Sparkle cries as she says “I should have never introduced her to him,” while denying she ever took money to buy her silence, as another refers to Kelly as “the puppet master.” “I didn’t take the money, because I can’t be bought. He ain’t a monster by himself, it took some help,” Sparkle says. In a statement accompanying the trailer, Lifetime promises, “For the first time ever, survivors and people from R. Kelly’s inner circle, are coming forward with new allegations about his sexual, mental, and physical abuse. They are now finally ready to share their full story and shed light on the secret life the public has never seen.”
The show will feature more than 50 interviews with everyone from #MeToo activist Tarana Burke, John Legend and Sparkle, as well as talk show host Wendy Williams, Kelly’s ex-wife, Andrea Kelly, ex-girlfriend Kitti Jones and his brothers, Carey and Bruce Kelly. Promising to trace his story from 1970 to the present, the series is executive produced by activist dream hampton, Tamra Simmons, Joel Karsberg and Jesse Daniels.
Watch the trailer below.