Surviving R. Kelly Producer Says Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Questlove And More Declined Interviews For The Series

Mike Pont/Getty Images

Surviving R. Kelly Producer Says Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Questlove And More Declined Interviews For The Series

Mike Pont/Getty Images

Surviving R. Kelly, the miniseries tracing the singer’s alleged history of sexual and physical abuse, premiered on Lifetime last night. The comprehensively researched series features over 50 interviews, including with R. Kelly’s accusers, family members, and friends, but it includes a surprisingly small amount of appearances from celebrities. The only musicians interviewed in the documentary are John Legend, a past collaborator of series executive producer dream hampton’s as well as Kelly’s, and the singer Stephanie “Sparkle” Edwards, who testified against Kelly in his trial for child pornography charges in 2008.

hampton told the Detroit Free Press that this was not for lack of trying. The documentary’s team contacted numerous celebrities who had collaborated with Kelly, including ones “that had been critical of him.” In the DFP interview, hampton named Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Erykah Badu, Celine Dion, and Dave Chappelle specifically. In another interview with Shadow And Act, the filmmaker mentioned Mary J. Blige, Lil’ Kim, and Questlove.

“I remember Ahmir [“Questlove” Thompson] was like, ‘I would do anything for you but I can’t do this,'” hampton told the site. “It’s not because they support him, it’s because it’s so messy and muddy. It’s that turning away that has allowed this to go on.”

Questlove responded to the claims hampton made to the Detroit Free Press on why he declined to participate in the documentary on Twitter late Thursday afternoon. The Roots drummer said he “always thought Kels was trash” but declined to appear in the film because he was allegedly asked to “be in the ‘good times’ portion of the doc” apparently discussing the embattled singer’s artistic legacy.

Read his since-deleted tweets below:

I always thought Kels was trash. My reason for declining the RKelly docu that I support 10000000 percent is I didn’t wanna be in the “good times” portion of the doc, like stanning for his “genius”. I was asked to talk about his genius. I do not nor have I EVER stanned for him.

Just wanna make that abundantly clear in a non “he doth protest too much” way. That quote makes it look like I’m protecting him. I’m thinking “damn I don’t wanna be the one guy I always am in documentaries fawning over someone I detest. So make ZERO mistake on my positioning.

Legend has also spoken out about his appearance in the series:

Yesterday, TMZ also reported that Kelly is threatening to sue Lifetime over the miniseries. The singer’s lawyer Brian Nix reportedly sent a letter threatening a federal lawsuit on the day of airing if the network did not pull the documentary. Early last month, a screening of the documentary was shut down due to an anonymous gun threat, which Kelly’s ex-wife Andrea Kelly told Rolling Stone she believed was the handiwork of the singer himself.

A version of this article originally appeared on Spin.

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