Both Erykah Badu and Da Brat have been the subject of considerable backlash online this week after both made public statements seemingly defending, or at least failing to condemn, R. Kelly.
Kelly has been heavily criticized following the release of Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly” documentary, a six-part series that detailed decades worth of sexual misconduct accusations against the 52-year-old singer. But while some in the entertainment industry have distanced themselves from Kelly, others — like Badu, who offered prayers to Kelly, and Da Brat, who condemned his alleged victims’ parents — have seemingly lent him their support.
When speaking to TMZ on Sunday, rapper Da Brat seemed to sympathize with Kelly and place some of the blame on the parents of his alleged victims.
“I do think he needs help. I love him, I grew up with him. He’s kind of like family, you know what I’m saying?” she began.
“I’ve never seen him do anything bad, but I don’t believe all these people are lying,” she said. “But at the same time, where are the parents? So, you know, I think he needs help for sure. I love him, I hope he don’t get mad at me, and I think the parents need to take responsibility. Where is your 14-year-old child? Why are you there? You know what I’m saying? Something’s wrong with that.”
She also made it pretty clear that she won’t be joining the #MuteRKelly movement, commenting, “I can’t stop listening to the music. Never will I stop listening to the music, OK? I might not buy it no more, but it’s already in my playlist.”
Da Brat, born Shawntae Harris, did not directly address the controversy on social media, but she did retweet a number of posts defending her, followed by a separate tweet reading, “Thank you to everyone who GENUINELY cares for me.”
Da Brat was not the only celebrity who came under fire for R. Kelly commentary over the weekend. Badu made her controversial statements during a performance in Chicago, telling the audience that she was “putting up a prayer right now for R,” TMZ reports.
“I hope he sees the light of day if he done all those things that we’ve seen on TV and heard those ladies talk about. I hope he sees the light of day and comes forward,” she said.
She went on, apparently in response to criticism from the crowd, remarking, “What y’all say, f--k him? That’s not love. That’s not unconditional love. But what if one of the people that was assaulted by R. Kelly grows up to be an offender, we gonna crucify them? I mean, how do we do this? Just something to think about.”
“They ’bout to R. Kelly me to death on the internet. I’m like goddamn,” she said. She added later, “I just want peace and light for everybody and healing for those who are hurt because everyone involved has been hurt, victimized in some kinda way. Love for everybody.”
Badu’s commentary left a bad taste in the mouths of some fans, who took to Twitter to express their disappointment, while others defended her. Badu addressed the controversy in a tweet of her own on Sunday.
“I love you. Unconditionally. That doesn’t mean I support your poor choices,” she wrote. “I want healing for you and anyone you have hurt as a result of you being hurt. Is that strange to you? That’s all I’ve ever said. Anything else has been fabricated or taken out of context.”
She also referenced seeing both sides in an Instagram post published last week.
Kelly officially denied the numerous accusations against him earlier this month, with his lawyer Steven Greenberg telling the Associated Press that the allegations “aren’t true.”
Kelly “never knowingly had sex with an underage woman, he never forced anyone to do anything, he never held anyone captive, he never abused anyone,” he said.
[Photo: Getty Images]
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.