Surviving R Kelly producers: ‘We wanted to explain why you shouldn’t blame survivors’

last year, Surviving R Kelly spotlighted multiple women who shared allegations of sexual violence and abuse committed by Kelly. The express sparked a heated public reaction to the singer as boycott of his music began ; his concerts were cancelled ; and the hashtag # MuteRKelly gained steam. Since Surviving R Kelly first aired in January 2019, more than two twelve sex-crime charges have been filed against Kelly. The pressure culminated in a volatile interview between Kelly and Gayle King in March 2019, Kelly shouting in tears : “ I didn ’ metric ton do this stuff ! I ’ megabyte fight for my bally life ! Y ’ all killing me with this denounce ! ” At first, the team behind the documentary was wholly against doing a second season. What changed their minds ? Seeing the harassment the profile survivors faced after the objective aired. ( In one picture, Faith Rodgers, 21, recounts how friends of Kelly threatened to release nude photos and video of her. ) Another agent ? Watching jurisprudence enforcement officials continually fail to protect survivors of Kelly ’ s sexual violence and pursue the department of justice they deserve. hera, the executive producers Miranda Bryant and Jesse Daniels talk to the defender about exploring who is creditworthy for protecting Kelly ’ mho survivors, inserting women of discolor into the # MeToo apparent motion, and the reduce possibility of a third gear season.

The first season of Surviving R Kelly worked diligently to make audiences care about Kelly’s survivors and issue a call to action. W hat was the motivating force for this season? Miranda Bryant: All of us were adamantly against doing a second season. We worried that if we didn ’ t do it right, we would reverse the support that the first [ season ] helped granary for our survivors. But during our research, there was a conversation a reporter had with authorities, who obtained clear evidence of things that are kind of similar to the Chicago trial attest [ In 2008, Kelly was tried and acquitted by a Chicago court on charges related to child abuse images. ] basically, the charges were dropped and the reporter wanted to know why and the answer that they got was, “ Well, they ’ re not our girls. ” What does that mean, precisely ? That ’ randomness when we started having conversations about the possibility of a part two .

‘Those are not our girls’ became a mission statement for us

Jesse Daniels: “ Those are not our girls ” became a mission instruction for us. We asked ourselves, “ OK, well, whose responsibility are they ? And whose province is it to tell these stories ? ” We besides started getting more messages from people who had worked for R Kelly and fresh survivors started coming fore. There was a rollout of charges against R Kelly and news outlets continued to report the story. We felt we were done, and then all of this started find and we felt a new sense of responsibility to continue the floor. What was it like to watch R Kelly’s public reactions to the boycotts and court cases ? I’m thinking especially about his interview with Gayle King . Did it play a role in filming this second season?Miranda Bryant. Miranda Bryant. Photograph: Heidi Gutman/NBC Universal Bryant: No, I don ’ metric ton think [ Kelly ’ s reactions ] went into the need to follow up. We have barely been watching everything blossom. I think after the documentary aired, the concentration for us was truly on the survivors and the back that they were getting. And besides some of the conflicts they were experiencing. It was interesting to see how Surviving R Kelly particularly resonated with the black community. Were you conscious of the conversations and reactions occurring within black spaces around R Kelly and sexual violence ?

Bryant: The # MeToo campaign hit and then the # TimesUp drift came around, and I think without the heavily work of laying those things down, we wouldn ’ t have been where we were with Surviving R Kelly. I don ’ thymine think anyone would have been ready to hear from the survivors. For Lifetime, it ’ s important for them to be a platform for all women. In particular, as those two movements have been emerging on a broader level, it entirely looked like one thing. What was decent about Surviving R Kelly is that it gave a more inclusive perspective on what ’ s been happening in the world of sexual of violence with women. It was dainty to fill in the gap .Asante McGee in Surviving R Kelly – Part II: The Reckoning. Asante McGee in Surviving R Kelly – Part II : The Reckoning. Photograph: Lifetime Do you think the documentary worked to lessen the victim-blaming these women face in any way? Daniels: If you were blaming a survivor, we wanted to peel that back and explain why you shouldn ’ thymine blame any survivor. If it was the parents, we wanted to present their position. A lot of people pointed to the music diligence, so we wanted to pull the curtain back on that. What are the unique difficulties of creating a documentary about sexual violence, even post #MeToo?Jesse Daniels. Jesse Daniels. Photograph: NBC Universal Daniels: What I think we did successfully in both seasons is throughout each narrative, we took a step back and had professionals break down what our survivors were going through. They very helped people who are watching the documentary understand the repercussions of sexual violence. If there was anybody who had experienced sexual violence watching the objective, I think it helped a batch of people.

What do you hope viewers take from this second season? Bryant: With contribution one, the stories had been out there for about 30 years. So it was not like the world hadn ’ t heard them ahead. It was [ presented in ] a different medium than the journalistic report people like Jim DeRogatis had been doing for years. Part one for us was actually about obscure in plain sight and taking a expression at the past 30 years and the lyrics and the performances and all the things that we already knew and sort of unpacking it. Part two takes a spirit at the province of the culture to our women. Surviving R Kelly Part II : The Reckoning is available on Lifetime

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