Chance the Rapper has regrets over working with R. Kelly.
During the final episode of the Lifetime docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly,” the Chicago rapper admits that it was a “mistake” when he recorded a song with Kelly.
Both Chicago natives, Chance and Kelly crossed paths several times including during Chance’s 2014 Lollapalooza set, where he brought out Kelly as a surprise guest. In 2015, Chance made a cameo in Kelly’s “Backyard Party” video and collaborated with Kelly on “Somewhere in Paradise.”
But during an interview with Cassius’ Jamilah Lemieux, which was recorded in May, Chance shared remorse over the collaboration. Part of the conversation was broadcast during the final episode of “Surviving R. Kelly” on Saturday (Jan. 5) and the full clip was later released via Rolling Stone.
“Making a song with R. Kelly was a mistake,” said Chance. “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. 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.
“We’re programmed to really be hypersensitive to black male oppression,” he continued. “But black women are exponentially [a] higher oppressed and violated group of people just in comparison to the whole world. Maybe I didn’t care because I didn’t value the accusers’ stories because they were black women. Usually, ni**as that get in trouble for shit like this on their magnitude of celebrity, it’s light-skinned women or white women. That’s when it’s a big story. I’ve never really seen any pictures of R. Kelly’s accusers.”
Chance also applauded the survivors for speaking out. “I can’t be right all the time,” he said. “I made a mistake and I’m happy that those women are getting voices now and I can grow to understand better what my positioning should be or should’ve been when that opportunity came.”
After receiving backlash over his on-air comments, Chance issued an apology on social media. “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 tweeted. “I apologize to all of his survivors for working with him and for taking this long to speak out.”
While many in the hip-hop and R&B community were reluctant to appear on camera for the six-part docuseries, John Legend did participate. “To everyone telling me how courageous I am for appearing in the doc, it didn’t feel risky at all,” tweeted Legend. “I believe these women and don’t give a fuck about protecting a serial child rapist. Easy decision.”
“Surviving R. Kelly” also credited Vince Staples for calling out Kelly in a post-Coachella interview that went viral. “He’s a child molester and he pees on people, and he can’t read or write, and he didn’t go to jail,” said Staples. “I’m a good person. R. Kelly is a piece of fu**ing shit.”
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 fuck about protecting a serial child rapist. Easy decision.
— John Legend (@johnlegend) January 4, 2019