R. Kelly And Britney TV Docs Tap Into ‘Consequence Culture,’ Not Cancel Culture

R. Kelly And Britney TV Docs Tap Into ‘Consequence Culture,’ Not Cancel Culture

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Antonio Perez/Pool via Getty Images

Antonio Perez/Pool via Getty Images

As the test of take down R & B ace R. Kelly unfolds, it ‘s tough to imagine reaching this here and now without the 2019 Lifetime docuseries Surviving R. Kelly.

A New Genre Of Filmmaking Has Proved Invaluable In Exposing Years Of Abuse



That ‘s because the six-part project seemed to transform public opinion about the singer in an clamant, with detail, harrowing accounts from women who said Kelly spent decades pursuing underage girls for sex and maintaining abusive relationships. Kelly has denied the allegations. The public reaction — including prosecutors asking other likely victims to come advancing and his longtime label, RCA, dissolving its working kinship with him — was storm because journalists had been reporting on exchangeable allegations against the singer since the late 1990s. But cultural critic and film maker dream hampton, an executive manufacturer on Surviving R. Kelly, says this visualize hit the world in a crucial here and now : social media spread word cursorily, a younger generation was less broad, and viewers were drawn in by the office of seeing a succession of survivors telling their stories directly to the camera .

american history is n’t history until there ‘s a movie about it .
“ american history is n’t history until there ‘s a movie about it, ” hampton says, wryly. “ I was packaging Surviving R. Kelly for people who probably did n’t read beyond the headlines. … That ‘s what I thought I could bring to it. There ‘s something about a ocular [ of ] person unpacking their report. ”

A new genre for new sensibilities

Turns out, Surviving R. Kelly was one on a growing list of objective projects challenging audiences to reconsider old controversies with fresh eyes, informed by the # MeToo movement ‘s revelations about harassment, attack and trauma. And those films could bring very real results .

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Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Lifetime
In February, FX and Hulu ‘s film The New York Times Presents : Framing Britney Spears jumpstart public conversation about sexist, abusive media coverage of the pop music star and the 2008 conservatorship that gave control of her finances to her beget, Jamie Spears. HBO ‘s four-part Allen v. Farrow gave a detailed display of Dylan Farrow ‘s allegations from 1992 that her beget, ace director Woody Allen, molested her as a child ( the film maker has denied those allegations ). And HBO Max ‘s movie On the Record debuted last year as a chilling score featuring respective women who accused rap baron Russell Simmons of sexual rape in incidents ranging back to the mid-1990s, which he has denied. “ I feel these documentaries could only have been made immediately … because the standards of accountability have changed, ” says Poh Si Teng, producer of the objective St. Louis Superman and an executive at the International Documentary Association. “ The feedback from the web and social media platforms is so much faster, we are holding ourselves more accountable [ as a club ], ” she adds. “ In lighter of all the reckonings from the past year, particularly after the murder of George Floyd and the pandemic, more and more filmmakers and participants are going to be bold. They ‘re going to be cook to speak now. … So these filmmakers can revisit all these old controversies [ on ] misogyny, conservatorship, child sexual misuse and rape in ways that they could not ahead. ”

Reconsidering media bullying of Britney


Samantha Stark, film director of Framing Britney Spears, says she in the first place planned to just reexamine past media coverage of the pop star. After seeing how “ fabulously misogynous ” it all was — demonstrated by a trot in the film of an interviewer asking Spears about her breasts — Stark and her team realized many of the journalists who had reported these stories were male. “ We just had this estimate : What if we try to find women to consultation rather ? ” she says. “ We got a wholly different video of her : a womanhood who was business-savvy, who even as a adolescent contributed creatively to her employment, who had the stamen of an Olympic athlete and knew what she was doing … person with agency. ” then, the filmmakers discovered valid concerns about the fairness of Spears ‘ conservatorship, originally criticized by followers of the “ free Britney ” motion. suddenly, a fan rise that some treated like a punchline was inspiring renewed public scrutiny. Most recently, Spears ‘ father has announced his intention to step down from the conservatorship, but with no definitive timetable. Stark says she thought approximately Surviving R. Kelly while making her film, because both projects centered on contentions that people found bully to believe because the alleged abuse was happening in homely sight. And both projects besides pointed out the complicity of the general public, which much laughed at comedians ‘ jokes about Spears ‘ genial health or Kelly ‘s proclivities without considering the dark truths behind the punchlines. “ I ‘m the same long time as Britney, so when I was watching so much of the footage, I was reliving my [ adolescent years ], when it was o to browbeat people and shame them for being different, ” says Stark, age 39. “ It did feel like we were n’t quick for all these documentaries until now. We do, I think, listen to what women have to say more now. ” That ‘s an mind which resonates for Amy Ziering, co-director of both Allen v. Farrow and On the record with longtime filmmaking spouse Kirby Dick. Ziering says, when she was pitching potential distributors on their 2012 objective about intimate assail in the military, The Invisible War, she was told no one wanted to hear women ‘s stories — specially stories of women raped in the military. now, Allen v. Farrow has seven Emmy nominations and On the Record was separate of HBO Max ‘s opening slate of original programs when the pour platform launched in May 2020. These days, Ziering says, such films can perform a sort of pop music culture jiu-jitsu – leveraging the celebrity that some stars have used to shield themselves to educate viewers, rather. What is adorable about these films is we get to capitalize on the polish of fame for dear — not for selling … but to actually enlighten people .
“ Would anyone in truth care to watch a documentary conservatorship … no, you watched because it was about Britney Spears, ” she adds, saying Allen V. Farrow dropped crucial data about how the woo arrangement treats detention cases and how allegations of incest are investigated. “ What is adorable about these films is we get to capitalize on the culture of fame for good — not for commercialize … but to actually enlighten people. ”

Not all films have the same impact

Some critics say these films can be biased ; Kelly, Allen and Simmons all declined requests to be interviewed for these projects and have denied the crimes they are accused of within them. And not every project can have the shock filmmakers anticipate. Drew Dixon, a early record company executive whose accounts of being raped by Russell Simmons and sexually harassed by long-familiar producer/executive L.A. Reid form the center field of On the Record, says the film ‘s impact was blunted when media star Oprah Winfrey pulled out as an executive producer in early 2020. “ It ‘s about worse than if she ‘d never been involved … [ it ] left this trace of confusion and doubt around the film, ” says Dixon. “ A draw of the brawny voices in the Black community that could have drawn care to the discussion about Black women and our alone vulnerability to sexual violence did n’t happen. And honestly, I feel more isolated nowadays than I did earlier. ”
The trailer for Lifetime ‘s follow-up Surviving R. Kelly Part II : The Reckoning details the impingement of the original docuseries .


The film, which besides explores how Black women ‘s stories of harassment and assault may have been left out of the # MeToo movement, besides faced criticism from some who viewed it as an attack on successful Black men. Both Dixon and Surviving R. Kelly ‘s dream hampton noted that the subjects of their films still retain support among some Black people, leery of a white-dominated media system going after stars once considered admirable examples of Black accomplishment. calm, Dixon says she has no regrets about participating in the film. “ A proliferation of documentaries that center survivors and move the limelight away from the celebrated, accused, herculean people … that ‘s truly critically important, ” she adds. ” That ‘s how we in truth humanize the experience and the pain and the very cost of intimate ferocity for the people who have experienced it. ”

It ‘s not cancel culture. It ‘s consequence culture .
Poh Si Teng of the International Documentary Association expects to see many more of these types of films produced, with a tangible impact on the public hold forth. “ It ‘s not cancel culture, ” she says, of the way some celebrities have seen their work sidelined after dangerous allegations. “ It ‘s consequence culture. ”

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