By now you’d have to be living under a rock not to have seen or at least heard of the new docuseries on Lifetime, “Surviving R. Kelly.”
The six-part TV special which debuted on Saturday, January 5 was directed by Dream Hampton and dives deeper into what we already know of the sick and criminal mind of Chicago-native, Robert Kelly.
Everyone knows about him marrying a then 15-year-old Aaliyah’s and writing her debut album conveniently named Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number. We were also here in 2002 when Kelly was charged (and later acquitted) with 21 counts of child pornography for allegedly videotaping himself having sex with a minor?
And last year Buzzfeed ran a bombshell story on his secret sex cult. The hashtag #MuteRKelly was even made in efforts of canceling his music and stopping his shows. Still, it wasn’t until Saturday’s doc until people really started to fully understand the severity of R. Kelly’s wickedness.
The R. Kelly documentary series has been a Purge. I definitely know who I don’t want around any children and who I will not be asking for opinions on a host of topics in the future.
— No Relation, Esq. (@TheCosby) January 9, 2019
“Separating the man from the art” is not a valid excuse. If you support R. Kelly’s career the way you supported Chris Brown’s career after he was exposed, you’re perpetuating the idea that Black Women’s lives are less important than an abusive misogynist’s music. #MuteRKelly
— Lynzy Lab (@LynzyLab) January 8, 2019
John Legend, Tank, and Chance The Rapper are just a few artists and past collaborators that have come out and denounced Kelly.
Two notable Dallas radio stations — KRNB and K104 — also have confirmed in segments on-air and local news that they will never play his music again.
Yet, somehow, his music sales are still going up. According to a Spotify representative via The Blast, Kelly’s streams “increased 16% since Lifetime aired part 1 of ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ on Thursday night.” Lifetime says on its “Surviving R. Kelly” site,
“Despite damning evidence and multiple witnesses, to date, none of these accusations have seemingly affected him.”
The spike has even gotten Jada Pinkett-Smith wondering what in the heck is going on. She said in a video posted to her Twitter,
“So I got an article this morning about how R. Kelly’s music sales and his streams have spiked substantially since the release of Surviving R. Kelly docuseries. And I’m having a really difficult time understanding why. But I think it’s important to understand why. I really would like for you guys to help me understand what I’m missing. Even if I’m missing something that I don’t necessarily agree with. I just want to understand what I’m missing.”
How is it that R Kelly's music sales have spiked (substantially) since the release of the docuseries Surviving R Kelly? I need some help in understanding. What am I missing??? pic.twitter.com/pysqVxLzyi
— Jada Pinkett Smith (@jadapsmith) January 6, 2019
Luckily, we got an explanation from John Mayer, a licensed clinical psychologist and author of Family Fit: Find Your Balance in Life, who tells Yahoo Lifestyle that “more people are downloading R. Kelly’s music now because of the curiosity that this publicity has generated.” He says.
“From a social perspective, people love controversy and gossip, and downloading his music is a way that people can get into the controversy.”
Psychiatrist and author of The Power of Different, Gail Saltz, MD, back up this claim. She tells Yahoo:
“I think it’s more likely that people are fascinated with the horrible story of R. Kelly, powerful person with seemingly everything doing terrible sexual things and victimizing those without power, a sadistic and masochistic fascination and voyeurism that draws people to listen to his music to be involved further in observing the story.”
And she continued,
“It’s like people wanting to watch car wrecks, or other horrible scenes — a fascination with the morbid.”
I guess we’re all a little guilty of wanting too much of the tea, but I wonder if these people know they’re actually putting money in his pockets when they stream his music.
Either way, justice is coming quickly, even if we decide what to do with his music later.