Skip to main content

How Lifetime’s R. Kelly Documentary Became ‘A Breeding Ground of Trust’ for Survivors: Chart Beat Podcast

A discussion with the executives behind "Surviving R. Kelly."

Welcome to the Billboard Chart Beat Podcast, where each week co-hosts Gary Trust and Trevor Anderson, from the Billboard charts department, discuss why what’s on the charts … is on the charts, while also looking at current chart action in a historical context for even greater insights.

This week, we continue discussing R. Kelly, following the Jan. 3-5 premiere of Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly docuseries, which recounts the many accusations of sexual assault against the R&B singer-songwriter, largely through interviews with over 50 women who share their stories.


Joining us are Brie Miranda Bryant, Lifetime senior vp of unscripted development and programming, and Surviving R. Kelly executive producers Jesse Daniels and Tamra Simmons.

“The approach was ‘patience first’,” Bryant recalls of the sensitive process of interviewing participants on-camera. “These survivors had been screaming into the wind and hadn’t been heard. It took patience [and became] a breeding ground of trust. They had so much to say, and it was a safe place.”

“Partnering with the right network, Lifetime, also helped them have the confidence that they didn’t have before,” says Simmons.

Making for a somewhat unintended legacy for the series, and perhaps most importantly, notes Daniels of those who came forth to interview, “Today, they’re healing together. A lot of them have become friendly, and see each other as a support system, which is something we’re really proud of.”


Plus, Gary and Trevor recap this week’s charts, including Halsey‘s return to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, Post Malone‘s latest top 10 and Ariana Grande‘s impending debut – possibly at No. 1? – on next week’s Hot 100 with new single “7 Rings.”

Listen to the latest Billboard Chart Beat Podcast and check back for additional upcoming episodes with artists, label executives, radio programmers and personalities, songwriters, producers and more. And, to receive every episode automatically in your inbox, subscribe to (and rate) the Billboard Chart Beat Podcast on iTunes! Plus, the Billboard Chart Beat Podcast is now available on an expanded range of platforms! You can listen on Acast, Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, Overcast, PocketCast, Podbean, Stitcher and TuneIn.