Questlove Explains His Decision To Not Be In R. Kelly Doc
Questlove is doing his part to send a clear message: He is not trying to protect R. Kelly and he never has.
The Roots member is facing some mild backlash this week for declining to appear in Surviving R. Kelly—the Lifetime docuseries centered on Kelly’s sexual abuse allegations. Executive producer and showrunner, Dream Hampton, recently told Shadow and Act that a number of prominent artists had turned down interviews for six-part series–which is why so many people praised John Legend for his participation. Hampton previously elaborated saying her team reached out to celebrities who had either collaborated with the disgraced R&B star or who were critical of him.
“John Legend was the only one [who participated],” she told Shadow and Act. “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” Thompson] 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. It’s that turning away that has allowed this to go on.”
Fans were quick to jump on social media, immediately expressing their disappointment in celebrities and their noncooperation–of course including Questlove. While it’s safe to assume that some of these musicians or former collaborators declined to be in the doc because they support Kelly, Quest insists that is not the case.
“I always thought Kels was trash. My reason for declining the RKelly docu that I support 10000000 percent is I didn’t wanna be in the ‘good times’ portion of the doc, like stanning for his ‘genius,'” Questlove wrote in a now-deleted Twitter. “I was asked to talk about his genius. I do not nor have I EVER stanned for him”
He continued on to say, “Just wanna make that abundantly clear in a non ‘he doth protest too much’ way. That quote makes it look like I’m protecting him. I’m thinking ‘damn I don’t wanna be the one guy I always am in documentaries fawning over someone I detest.’ So make ZERO mistake on my positioning.”
Questlove deleted his tweets shortly after Hampton responded, where she insists she didn’t ask the Roots percussionist to talk about R. Kelly’s musical prowess. She quoted Quest’s tweet responding, “I didn’t ask you about his “Genius.” I’ve never thought he was a genius. I asked you to come on camera and say the same thing you said on Twitter. I told you I need Blake male allies.”
Though the stories here don’t seem to add up completely, it seems like Questlove was taking his precautions since he usually takes the role of “talking about (insert name here’s) musical genius” and didn’t want to come off the same way in this instance.