In an interview that appears in the final installment of the three-part Lifetime docuseries Surviving R. Kelly, Chance the Rapper shares he regrets working with the singer, who has been subject to accusations of sexual and physical abuse, including running a sex cult, for nearly two decades.
“Making a song with R. Kelly was a mistake," Chance said in an interview with Cassius‘ Jamilah Lemieux of his 2015 collaboration with Kelly, "Somewhere in Paradise". The rapper had previously brought Kelly on stage as a special guest during his 2014 set at Lollapalooza and would make a cameo in the singer's "Backyard Party" music video in 2015. “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. 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."
As a staunch supporter of his city and local community, Chance's support for Kelly seemed par for the course, but this support has been called into question in recent years.
"We’re programmed to really be hypersensitive to black male oppression,” he added. “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."
Chance is one of only a small handful of artists and industry insiders who appear in the documentary, as producer dream hampton took to Twitter to share JAY-Z, Lil Kim, Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu and Questlove declined to appear in the series.
R. Kelly has continuously denied all accusations and has reportedly threatened legal action against Lifetime in response to the series.
Watch the interview above.
Thumbnail image via Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella.