Why Was John Legend the Only Famous Musician to Appear on 'Surviving R. Kelly'?

john elgend wife chrissy teigen
credit: Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock.com

John Legend is truly a stand-up dude.

In a recent interview about the Lifetime doc Surviving R. Kelly, filmmaker Dream Hampton revealed that the only celeb she could get for the 6-part documentary was John Legend.

She told Shadow and Act,

“John Legend was the only one. I asked Jay-Z, I asked Mary J. Blige, I asked Lil Kim, Erykah Badu, Dave Chappelle… I mean, most people just don’t want to touch it. I remember Ahmir [Questlove] was like, ‘I would do anything for you but I can’t do this.’ It’s not because they support him, it’s because it’s so messy and muddy.”

As soon as this news broke, fans immediately took to Twitter to commend John for his “bravery” and decision to come forward. But the singer wasn’t having it. He tweeted,

“To everyone telling me how courageous I am for appearing in the doc, it didn’t feel risky at all. I believe these women and don’t give a fuck about protecting a serial child rapist. Easy decision.”

And you know what? He’s right. What John did was not particularly courageous, it was just the right thing to do.

We’ve come to expect so little from men when it comes to supporting sexual assault survivors that anyone who is willing to say anything at all is deemed a “hero.” Meanwhile, women are demonized as “liars” and “attention whores.”

I recognize that, yes, sometimes doing the right thing isn’t the easy thing to do. But in this case, John had nothing to lose. Standing up to a rapist makes him look good in the public eye, especially when the rapist is someone we can all agree is guilty.

Why all those other celebs who were asked to participate turned it down is a mystery. Similar to the cases of Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein, R. Kelley’s story is not at all “muddy.” It’s clear-cut.

Of course, after the filmmaker’s comments, Questlove immediately denied her remarks. He claimed that he was asked to testify to R. Kelly’s “genius,” while Dream maintains that she just wanted more Black male allies to stand up to the R&B singer.

questlove surviving r kelly
Source: Twitter

Regardless of what Questlove did or did not do, or what any celeb did or did not do, John did the right thing. And it’s always commendable when someone does that right thing.

But, as John states, it was the “easy” choice. And that doesn’t make John brave. It just makes him smart.


‘Surviving R. Kelly’ Inspires Women to Call Assault Hotlines About Their Own Trauma

Lena Finkel
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and Vanderpump Rules. When she's not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her hanging out with her tuxedo cat Tom.