Executive producer Dream Hampton talks Surviving R. Kelly

Surviving RKelly
Surviving R Kelly

(NNPA) – For Dream Hampton, who served as executive producer of the much talked about Surviving R. Kelly documentary, the explosive revelations in the film were just the tip of the iceberg.

Hampton said there were many things she couldn’t talk about and will never discuss.

“The things that I learned making this documentary that couldn’t make it in for legal reasons,” she explained during an extensive interview on SiriusXM’s The Karen Hunter Show. “There are so many things that I can’t talk about and will never talk about, and quite frankly you don’t want to. It’s so dark and sad and traumatic.”

The three-part Lifetime series not only has the general public aghast, but has celebrities like John Legend and Chance the Rapper expressing remorse for ever working with Kelly.

“Maybe he could’ve gotten help when he was 30, or you know, 29, when the Aaliyah stuff broke,” Hampton continued.

Aaliyah’s story was a brief part of the documentary, though Hampton said it would have been sensational if she could have devoted an entire episode to the late songstress.

“For me, she’s actually his type,” Hampton told Hunter. “You know, what he targets are very regular, and you know, your audience understands this, like brown-skin Black girls. You know, like he, we can talk about publicly, oh, that he targets Black girls who aren’t famous. No, he has a very specific type, you know.”

According to author Mikki Kendall, that’s exactly why the situation had been largely ignored for so long.

“Why didn’t anyone notice?” she said. “We all noticed. No one cared because we’re Black girls.”

Surviving R. Kelly aired on Lifetime from Jan. 3 to Jan. 5. It featured wide-ranging interviews with Kelly’s family members, former friends and colleagues, but most notably, women who claim that for decades the hit-making singer and producer used his power and influence to sexually and physically abuse women and young girls.

People Magazine editors said they reached out to Kelly’s representatives who offered a “no comment” about the series.

In 2002, Kelly, a Chicago native, was indicted after a video surfaced allegedly showing a man engaged in sex acts with a woman who some witnesses testified was 14 at the time of the recording. Both Kelly and the woman denied that the video was of them, and Kelly was never charged with assault.

In 2008, Kelly was found not guilty on 21 counts of child pornography.

Several published reports said Kelly intends to counteract the documentary with lawsuits and the creation of a Facebook page to “expose the lies.” However, Hampton said there was plenty of truth attached to the story and much more remains untold.

“When I went into this project, I was clear that he was a predator and that he targeted young and vulnerable girls. I don’t think I knew he was an abuser, and I don’t mean to sound naive, but I just didn’t think physical abuse was a part of his repertoire,” Hampton said.

“I certainly didn’t know I would have to listen to woman after woman talking about being denied food and movement. I mean, we about to get into a couple of episodes where you’re going to hear testimony of girls talking about having, you know, they couldn’t leave the room unless he told them to, and all of them didn’t have bathrooms in the room. So, they used slop buckets. His runners would put slop buckets in the room. So, I don’t think I was prepared for his sadism.”

Hampton also stated that there were celebrities that worked with Kelly that she wasn’t able to interview for the film.

“Of course, there’s some celebs that I wanted to talk to,” she said. “I wanted to know how Lady Gaga could be on SNL with him as someone who advocates for domestic abuse survivors and was, you know, had this ridiculous performance with him on SNL. But the person that I really wanted to talk to is Barry Weiss from Jive Records …”

Last year, advocacy groups like Times Up and the newly formed #MuteRKelly began campaigning to urge music companies to drop the artist.

After Kelly released his single, I Admit – “shifting blame and making excuses for his decades of reprehensible behavior” – Color of Change began its #DropRKelly campaign to urge RCA Records to drop Kelly from its music label.

“In recent months, many more women have come forward to describe the emotional and sexual abuse they suffered at the singer’s hand, starting in their teens. Among them include Andrea Lee, who was married to Kelly for 13 years, who has come forward to describe the mental abuse she endured at the singer’s hands, and how it made her suicidal,” stated Brandi Collins in a prepared statement.

“R. Kelly has never suffered any serious financial or legal consequences for his actions and in fact, both he and his label, RCA, have relished in the publicity the allegations produced and have used them to solidify his persona as sex symbol and sexual provocateur.

“We don’t care how many records someone sells, or awards they win. Those who prey on the most vulnerable must suffer consequences, even if those predators come from our own communities. It’s time RCA stop profiting from R. Kelly’s abuse and drop him from their label now.”

Robyn H. Jimenez/The Dallas Examiner contributed to this report.


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