Last week, Lifetime aired the Surviving R. Kelly docuseries, which featured gut-wrenching testimonies from survivors of his alleged sexual, mental and physical abuse, supporting horrifying long-standing allegations and making shocking new revelations about the R&B singer.
Backlash against Kelly has pressured authorities to take action as a result of the brutal six-part series. The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office in Atlanta has reportedly launched a criminal investigation into R. Kelly regarding claims of abuse and manipulation inside the confines of his former ATL mansion. Cook County State’s Attorney also spoke out, asking Kelly’s alleged Chicago victims to come forward following the claims described as “deeply, deeply disturbing.”
Since the show’s airing, many artists have decided to take it upon themselves to use their platform to condemn the Chicago native and stand with the many alleged victims who still stuffer to this day — including several of whom once collaborated with the artist during his period of R&B and pop stardom.
With nearly three decades worth of hits packed into his illustrious music catalog, R. Kelly has had the opportunity to collaborate with quite the range of talented artists throughout his career. From Celine Dion to Justin Bieber and Chance the Rapper, here are 10 of the self-proclaimed Pied Piper of R&B’s most high-profile collaborations — and what those artists who have worked with him have said about Kelly’s reported dark past.
Nick Cannon, “Gigolo” (2003)
Nick Cannon teamed up with R. Kelly back in 2003 for Cannon’s biggest Billboard Hot 100 hit record in “Gigolo.” The memorable visual features the pair of artists stunting in luxury while laced in extra-baggy sports jerseys. Cannon apologized for turning a blind eye to Kelly’s history of alleged abuse in a heartfelt lengthy Instagram post on Thursday. He calls for the entertainment industry to change its infrastructure to help stop women being preyed upon.
“The real leaders and Bosses must step up and be MEN,” Cannon proclaimed. “And I will be one of the first to say on behalf of all men, I am Sorry. Please consider an advocate, ally and student that needs guidance in an industry that was designed to take advantage of women. Let’s change it ALL immediately. And call it all to the table for our ignorance, wrong doings and disrespect. I apologize my Queens.”
#TBT After much self reflection and meditation, I have to be one of the first to admit that in my past I’ve DEFINITELY turned a blind eye to a lot of darkness in this industry. Let’s stop beating around the bush and call it what it is. This entire industry was established and built by evil and predatorily spirits and male chauvinistic behavior. And since the recent media outrage pertaining to @RKELLY I have realized that the REAL issue at hand is the ultimate lack of care and disrespect for our QUEENS. For far too long we have treated women like second class citizens, when in actuality they are the source, our core, and the Superior beings. But our insecurities, Egos, and lack of love has tried to prove otherwise. Therefore we have SEVERAL cases where we allow entertainers, executives, and every day individuals abuse and mistreat our life bearers and beautiful equals. It is no secret how men have misused their power to manipulate young emerging pop stars to seasoned hollywood actresses and everyone in between. I have personally witnessed it and will no longer be silent about it. It’s not dry snitching, it’s a paradigm shift. I’m not judging ANY man for his past or his private actions because I too am a guilty sinner of the blatant disrespect even in some of the statements in the song above. But From Individuals like Les Moonves, Harvey Weinstein, ?Steven Tyler?, R. Kelly, Elvis and others, I must say we have to deal with this sickness head on. The real leaders and Bosses must step up and be MEN! And I will be one of the first to say on behalf of all men, I am Sorry. Please consider an advocate, ally and student that needs guidance in an industry that was designed to take advantage of women. Let’s change it ALL immediately. And call it all to the table for our ignorance, wrong doings and disrespect. I apologize my Queens.
Lady Gaga, “Do What U Want” (2013)
Words are one thing, but to take action is another. Lady Gaga commented on the “horrifying” allegations made in the documentary on Twitter this past Thursday, calling Kelly’s actions indefensible. She even took things a step further following the apology, declaring that her “Do What U Want” 2013 collab with R. Kelly would be taken off streaming services and digital music retailers to stop his profiting in the near-future — officially pulling the track later that night. The single had reached a peak of No. 13 on the Hot 100 in 2013.
“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. As a victim of sexual assault myself, I made both the song and video at a dark time in my life,” the pop star wrote. “I intend to remove this song off iTunes and other streaming platforms and will not be working with him again. I’m sorry, both for my poor judgment when I was young, and for not speaking out sooner.”
I stand by anyone who has ever been the victim of sexual assault: pic.twitter.com/67sz4WpV3i
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) January 10, 2019
Chance the Rapper, “Summer in Paradise” (2015)
Chance the Rapper has long aimed to use his influence for the greater good. Lil Chano was actually included in the final episode of Surviving R. Kelly, which played a small clip from his interview with Cassius where Chance expressed regret for working with R. Kelly in 2015 on “Summer in Paradise,” calling the track a “mistake.” The 25-year-old also brought out Kells during his Coachella set, the year before their lone collab was released.
“At the time, it wasn’t even present in my mind that people could feel any type of way about his presence on a track of mine,” he explained. “Here’s the thing: I think for a long time I was only able to understand R. Kelly’s situation and presence in the world when it comes down to his trial and his accusations and his accusers as a victim. I don’t know if that’s because I’m from Chicago or ‘cause he made great music or ‘cause he is a black man.”
Following the episode’s release, the Coloring Book rapper cleared up the context of his intentions on Twitter. “The quote was taken out of context, but the truth is any of us who ever ignored the R. Kelly stories, or ever believed he was being setup/attacked by the system (as black men often are) were doing so at the detriment of black women and girls,” he wrote. “I apologize to all of his survivors for working with him and for taking this long to speak out.”
— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) January 6, 2019
— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) January 6, 2019
Usher, “Same Girl” (2007)
“Same Girl” features a collaboration between Usher and R. Kelly, on which the pair of R&B titans tell a story about their experiences of messing around with a certain woman at the same time. If you’ve viewed the docuseries, this is probably a tough track to stomach more than a decade after its 2007 release. Usher hasn’t publicly commented on Kelly’s alleged sexual abuse of minors.
Phoenix, “Trying to Be Cool (Remix)” (2013)
French alternative hitmakers Phoenix enlisted R. Kelly on the official remix to their “Trying to be Cool” single back in 2013 and also performed a medley of collaborations with Kelly at Coachella in 2013. The four-man band released an apology for regretfully working with Kells on the track Thursday afternoon. “We are deeply horrified by the stories of abuse surrounding R. Kelly. We regret that we were not both more informed and more discerning when we worked with him previously. We fully support all victims of sexual abuse, and it’s our hope that there will be a path to justice,” reads the extensive mea culpa on Phoenix’s Twitter account.
We are deeply horrified by the stories of abuse surrounding R. Kelly.
We regret that we were not both more informed and more discerning when we worked with him previously. We fully support all victims of sexual abuse, and it’s our hope that there will be a path to justice.
— Phoenix (@wearephoenix) January 10, 2019
B2K, “Girlfriend (Pied Piper Remix)” (2003)
B2K‘s Omarion felt compelled to speak out against R. Kelly, since he penned a series of records for the R&B group and jumped on the Pied Piper remix of “Girlfriend” in 2003. “It’s important first to ACKNOWLEDGE that this has been an ugly truth in our industry for years and as opposed to dismissing it’s existence | its time to discuss it,” he tweeted on Monday. “EVERYONE has to be RESPONSIBLE. Many have bared witness to the unthinkable and yet have remained silent.”
He added: “Those responsible must be held accountable. #rkelly was both a victim & a predator & accordingly must be held accountable but also get professional help. His artistic genius inspired us all. His music is being muted by the darkness of his actions. The dark always comes to light.”
It’s important first to ACKNOWLEDGE that this has been an ugly truth in our industry for years and as opposed to dismissing it’s existence | its time to discuss it. EVERYONE has to be RESPONSIBLE. Many have bared witness to the unthinkable and yet have remained silent.
— OMARION (@Omarion) January 7, 2019
Those responsible must be held accountable. #rkelly was both a victim & a predator & accordingly must be held accountable but also get professional help. His artistic genius inspired us all. His music is being muted by the darkness of his actions. The dark always comes to light.
— OMARION (@Omarion) January 7, 2019
JAY-Z, The Best of Both Worlds (2002)
JAY-Z has remained unusually quiet when it comes to the stark backlash against his frequent collaborator R. Kelly. Surviving executive producer dream hampton says Hov declined to be part of the docuseries, and he hasn’t said anything publicly since its airing. Jay recorded a pair of albums with Kelly that are both available to stream on TIDAL.
Best of Both Worlds was released in March 2002, and soon after, the infamous R. Kelly sex tape leaked, which led to Kelly being arrested on 21 counts of child pornography, but he was ultimately acquitted when the case finally went to trial in 2008. While promoting the project, the Brooklyn rapper caught up with Sway Calloway for an interview. “I got love for the dude. If he’s guilty, I just hope and pray that he gets help. If he’s not, I wish everybody embraces him. Our contact is sparse,” Hov detailed. Regarding the alleged incident from the video, Jay said he wasn’t there for any of that. He later called the situation a “blown opportunity.”
Kelly and the Roc Nation CEO would link up once again for the Unfinished Business joint album in 2004. The pair would embark on a subsequent tour together, but the final 15 shows were ultimately canceled after Kelly accused fans of waving guns in the MSG crowd. The official press release for the cancellation from Jay’s reps blamed R. Kelly’s “lack of professionalism and unpredictable behavior.”
Mariah Carey, “Betcha Gon’ Know” (2014)
Mariah Carey has worked alongside R. Kelly multiple times in the past. Kells hopped on a remix of Carey’s 2008 bop “Touch My Body.” They linked up once again years later for Mariah’s “Betcha Gon’ Know.” Another remix to the aforementioned tune is reportedly in the works, as a snippet was posted to Twitter by R. Kelly in May, accompanied by a photo of the duo in the studio.
Following the Surviving R. Kelly docuseries airing, a tweet from the Grammy-winning pop star resurfaced featuring a Christmas special performance in 2016, which saw Kells make a cameo to perform Nat King Cole’s classic “The Christmas Song” as a duet alongside Carey. The 48-year-old hasn’t publicly commented on the allegations made against Kelly.
— R. Kelly (@rkelly) May 8, 2018
— Mariah Carey (@MariahCarey) December 9, 2016
Justin Bieber, “PYD” (2013)
The Biebs discovered his mature voice as an artist in his late teens, as he began shedding his reputation as a child star. Justin Bieber found himself tangled with R. Kelly after realizing the pair were staying in the same hotel in 2012. With a rapport established, the Canada native sent what would become “PYD” to Kelly and the “rest is just history,” as the R&B star put it. He told Rap-Up that they planned to do more music together, but it doesn’t seem like that actually came to fruition. Kelly was very complimentary of Bieber’s ability at the time.
Bieber has yet to publicly comment on the claims made against R. Kelly in the docuseries.
Celine Dion, “I’m Your Angel” (1998)
“I’m Your Angel,” alongside ’90s pop superstar Celine Dion, would notch R. Kelly his second No. 1 hit on the Hot 100. The unlikely duet partners meshed seamlessly for a tuneful ballad, which ended up appearing on Kells’ R album. The Canadian singer was approached to speak on her experiences working with the alleged sexual predator, but Dion’s team reportedly declined dream hampton’s request to appear on Surviving R. Kelly, and she hasn’t publicly commented on the series since.