A new video has surfaced online of R. Kelly expressing dismissal of his critics in one of his first publicly available statements since sexual abuse allegations of last year. “It’s too late, they should have did this shit 30 years ago,” he says, seemingly referring to movements like #MuteRKelly, which has called for his banishment from the music industry after allegations that he has sexually abused women. “I’ve got a million motherfuckers hating me, and 40 billion motherfuckers loving me,” he says at another point.
The video shows Kelly speaking to a group of men that appears to include former NBA forward Antoine Walker, a native of the R&B singer’s hometown of Chicago. After Kelly’s toast, the man gives his own speech in support of Kelly. The video was first posted last Thursday (May 18), by another Chicago man named Remus Jackson IV, who can be seen narrating the clip at times. It gained wider notice after a portion was uploaded to Twitter and Facebook by an attorney and media personality named Exavier Pope, who told Spin he first saw the video because Walker was tagged in it on Facebook. Pope recorded the video from Facebook Live and reposted it because he “deemed it extremely newsworthy,” he said.
R. Kelly has shied from the public eye since BuzzFeed published a lengthy article describing a group of women who live with him, which the parents of one woman described to police as a “cult.” Most recently, Kelly has been accused of battery, false imprisonment, and the transmission of an undisclosed sexual disease, in a new lawsuit filed by a woman named Faith A. Rodgers. The singer has denied all allegations against him, and has played occasional concerts since the Buzzfeed article, but avoided media appearances.
“I want to propose a toast to all the strong motherfuckers in here right now,” Kelly says to finish his speech in the video. “Motherfuckers like you is why I still continue to do, because I have a basketball mentality. As long as I got the ball, the world is on defense.”
We’ve reached out to representatives of Kelly and Walker for comment on the video and will update this post if we hear back.
This article originally appeared on Spin.