Lady Gaga Speaks Out on R. Kelly


Talia Weiner, Staff Writer

R. Kelly debuted in 1992 with the group Public Announcement. Since then, he has released various hit singles, earning himself a successful name in the R&B music industry. He was even considered the “Pied Piper of R&B” before all of his accomplishments took a backseat when a series of sex scandals was revealed to the public. Among many other incidents, Kelly engaged in an illegal marriage with 15-year-old Singer Aaliyah and was accused of taking part in child pornography as well as maintaining an abusive sex cult. Obviously, Kelly’s career took a steep downturn after these allegations spread, but years later, Kelly is again under the public eye when the Lifetime documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly” was aired on January 5, 2019. Singer-Songwriter Lady Gaga spoke out quickly after.

In 2013, Lady Gaga recorded her single “Do What U Want (With My Body),” which featured vocals by R. Kelly. Following the single, her and Kelly performed a very provocative duet on a Saturday Night Live broadcast. At the time, Kelly had already gained a controversial reputation, but when interviewed, Lady Gaga claimed it was “a natural collaboration” because they both had “very untrue things written about [them],” which formed “a bond between [them].” Fast forward years later, in the heat of the documentary, Lady Gaga added fuel to the fire by publicizing her regret in working with the infamous R. Kelly and voicing her plan to remove the song from all streaming services.

While I don’t doubt Lady Gaga’s apology for her association with R. Kelly is sincere, the timing of her statement leaves many to question her motives. R. Kelly has been exposed for his inexcusable behavior since the 90s so it is safe to say Lady Gaga knew exactly who she was dealing with when she agreed to do a collaboration with him in 2013. She says that she was in a dark place, dealing with her own experiences in sexual assault, but this explanation only raises more questions. Why work with a man known to have a hand in multiple sexual crimes? Why initially defend him to the public and promote his character? And most of all, why wait six years to change your mind?