Chance The Rapper publicly apologized for collaborating on music with R. Kelly in the final episode of Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly documentary, making him one of the few former collaborators of the “Ignition” singer to speak out in such a way.
The duo, both from Chicago, have collaborated a number of times, including when Chance brought out R. Kelly as a surprise guest for his 2014 Lollapalooza set, when he appeared in
R. Kelly’s “Backyard Party” video, and when they collaborated on the song, “Somewhere in Paradise.”
But in an interview that featured briefly in the documentary, Chance says he regrets those career decisions.
“Making a song with R. Kelly was a mistake,” he told Cassius‘ Jamilah Lemieux in an interview recorded in May 2018. “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,” Chance continued. “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.”
The six-part documentary chronicles decades of the singer’s alleged sexual misconduct, which he has continuously denied. With more than 50 interviews with Kelly’s victims, former associates, and family members, it has been a revealing portrayal of how the singer allegedly terrorized and assaulted young Black girls for decades.
In May, he apologized in an interview that didn’t run due to my exit from the publication I was working for at the time. Part of those remarks appear in tonight’s episode. https://t.co/clmLnHJX07
— Jamilah Lemieux🖤 (@JamilahLemieux) January 6, 2019
“We’re programmed to really be hypersensitive to black male oppression,” Chance continued in the interview. “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, n-ggas that get in trouble for sh-t 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.”
But Chance also called out the documentary for misquoting the interview by suggesting he “didn’t value the accusers’ stories [because] they were Black women.”
— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) January 6, 2019
“The quote was taken out of context, but the truth is any of us who ever ignored the R. Kelly stories, or ever believed that 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 wrote. “I apologize to all the survivors for working with him and taking this long to speak out.”
Overall, Chance the Rapper said in the interview that he was glad that more light was being shone on the accusers for sharing their stories.
“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.”
John Legend is another notable artist who spoke out against R. Kelly in the documentary, saying that it was an easy decision” because “I believe these women and don’t give a f*** about protecting a serial child rapist.”