Lady Gaga apol­o­gizes for 2013 R. Kelly col­lab­o­ra­tion

Miami Herald (Sunday) - - Arts - BY SARAH MERVOSH AND JOE COSCARELLI New York Times News Ser­vice

Lady Gaga, the pop singer and Acad­emy Award hope­ful for her role in “A Star Is Born,” be­came the lat­est mu­si­cian to apol­o­gize for col­lab­o­rat­ing with R. Kelly, the R&B singer who has long been ac­cused of sex­ual mis­con­duct and prey­ing on teenagers, af­ter the broad­cast of an ex­plo­sive in­ves­tiga­tive doc­u­men­tary de­tail­ing the al­le­ga­tions against him.

In a post across her so­cial me­dia chan­nels just af­ter mid­night Thurs­day, Lady Gaga said she was sorry for mak­ing the song “Do What U Want” with Kelly in 2013 and pledged to re­move the track from iTunes and other stream­ing plat­forms.

“I’m sorry, both for my poor judg­ment when I was young and for not speak­ing out sooner,” she wrote, cit­ing her own trauma from be­ing sex­u­ally as­saulted. “My in­ten­tion was to cre­ate some­thing ex­tremely de­fi­ant and provoca­tive be­cause I was an­gry and still hadn’t pro­cessed the trauma that had oc­curred in my own life.”

Lady Gaga, along with artists like Jay-Z and Chance the Rap­per, has for years faced crit­i­cism for col­lab­o­rat­ing with Kelly, with scru­tiny in­ten­si­fy­ing again as a re­sult of the doc­u­men­tary, “Sur­viv­ing R. Kelly,” which aired on Life­time. (Kelly has con­tin­u­ously de­nied the al­le­ga­tions against him.)

“Do What U Want” was con­tro­ver­sial when it de­buted, with many fans re­ject­ing the col­lab­o­ra­tion based on much ear­lier re­ports about Kelly’s be­hav­ior with women. The sin­gle’s mu­sic video, which was never re­leased, was shot and di­rected by pho­tog­ra­pher Terry Richard­son, who has also faced re­peated ac­cu­sa­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct.

Lady Gaga pre­vi­ously de­fended the song, call­ing it a “nat­u­ral col­lab­o­ra­tion.” At a 2013 news con­fer­ence, she said, “R. Kelly and I have some­times very un­true things writ­ten about us, so in a way this was a bond be­tween us.”

Fol­low­ing the air­ing of the Life­time se­ries, Chance the Rap­per apol­o­gized “to all of his sur­vivors for work­ing with him and for tak­ing this long to speak out.” He added: “The truth is any of us who ever ig­nored the R. Kelly sto­ries, or ever be­lieved he was be­ing setup/at­tacked by the sys­tem (as black men of­ten are) were do­ing so at the detri­ment of black women and girls.”

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives for

Jay-Z, who re­leased col­lab­o­ra­tive al­bums with Kelly in 2002 and 2004, have de­clined to com­ment. Sony Mu­sic, which over­sees Kelly’s record la­bel, RCA, has also de­clined to com­ment on the al­le­ga­tions.

In her post, Lady Gaga wrote: “I stand be­hind these women 1000 per­cent, be­lieve them, know they are suf­fer­ing and in pain, and feel strongly that their voices should be heard and taken se­ri­ously.” The singer has pre­vi­ously spo­ken out about her own sex­ual as­sault at age 19. In 2015, she re­leased “Til It Hap­pens to You,” a bal­lad about sex­ual as­sault for the doc­u­men­tary “The Hunt- ing Ground,” which ex­am­ined the is­sue of cam­pus rape.

“If I could go back and have a talk with my younger self,” Lady Gaga added in her apol­ogy, “I’d tell her to go through the ther­apy I have since then, so that I could un­der­stand the con­fused post-trau­matic state that I was in.”

“Sur­viv­ing R. Kelly,” which aired in six parts last week, cov­ered the long his­tory of al­le­ga­tions against Kelly and fea­tured women who de­scribed be­ing con­trolled or abused by him, of­ten when they were teenagers.

“I wish that he would ex­pe­ri­ence a kind of so­cial death, and that peo­ple who still vo­cif­er­ously de­clare him in­no­cent – or their fa­vorite artist, or wor­thy of hav­ing his work sep­a­rated from who he is – that they are de­nied that,” said dream hamp­ton, an ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer of the doc­u­men­tary.

Prose­cu­tors in Chicago and At­lanta are now look­ing into the al­le­ga­tions against him, and have called for po­ten­tial wit­nesses and vic­tims to come for­ward.

In 1994, when Kelly was 27, he mar­ried singer Aaliyah Haughton, who was 15 but was listed as 18 on a wed­ding cer­tifi­cate, ac­cord­ing to Vibe Mag­a­zine. The mar­riage was an­nulled in 1995. Haughton died in a plane crash in 2001.

Kelly was also ac­cused of hav­ing sex with a teenager in a law­suit in 1996, and again in 2001. Both law­suits were set­tled, but jour­nal­ist Jim DeRo­gatis, who re­ported on them, con­tin­ued to in­ves­ti­gate the ac­cu­sa­tions against Kelly.

In 2002, a video that ap­peared to show Kelly hav­ing sex with a teenage girl and uri­nat­ing in her mouth was sent to DeRo­gatis at The Chicago SunTimes, which re­ported that the footage was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by Chicago po­lice.

Later that year, Kelly was in­dicted by a grand jury in Chicago for child pornog­ra­phy. In the more than five years it took for his case to go to trial, he con­tin­ued to re­lease pop­u­lar mu­sic, in­clud­ing the chart-top­ping song “Ig­ni­tion (Remix).” He was found not guilty.

Jacey Fortin con­trib­uted re­port­ing.


Lady Gaga, cen­ter, and R. Kelly per­form ‘Do What U Want (With My Body)’ at the 2013 Amer­i­can Mu­sic Awards in Los An­ge­les.

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