Surviving R. Kelly: When it starts in the UK, who’s in it and why it’s important we listen to them

Controversial documentary Surviving R. Kelly has been making waves across the pond following its broadcast earlier this month. Now it’s coming to the UK...

Last updated: 23 January 2019 - 2.42pm

Surviving R. Kelly has been hitting the headlines in the US and is finally coming to the UK for fans this side of the Atlantic to tune into.

Here, we reveal everything you need to know about the documentary, including why people are talking about it, and why it’s an important watch...

Surviving R. Kelly is on Crime+Investigation, one of the 60+ premium channels available for BT TV customers.

R Kelly key art

When does Surviving R. Kelly start in the UK?

Six-part documentary series Surviving R. Kelly premieres with a double bill on Tuesday, February 5 at 10pm exclusive to Crime+Investigation in the UK (BT channel number 328/380 HD).

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What is Surviving R. Kelly about?

Celebrated as one of the greatest R&B singers of all time, R. Kelly’s genre-defining career and playboy lifestyle has been riddled with allegations of abuse, predatory behaviour and paedophilia.

Despite damning evidence and multiple witnesses, to date, none of these accusations have seemingly affected him.

In this groundbreaking documentary series, survivors and people from R. Kelly’s inner circle come forward with new allegations about his sexual, mental, and physical abuse.

They are now finally ready to share their full story and shed light on the secret life the public has never seen.

The story of R. Kelly’s controversial past will be revealed, beginning in 1970 through to the present day, shedding light on the R&B star whose history of alleged abuse of underage African American girls has, until recently, been largely ignored by mainstream media.

Who’s in Surviving R. Kelly?

Surviving R. Kelly includes over 50 interviews, including civil rights activist Tarana Burke, musicians John Legend and Sparkle, talk-show host and former DJ Wendy Williams (pictured below), ex-wife Andrea Kelly, ex-girlfriend Kitti Jones, brothers Carey and Bruce Kelly, and many others.

Wendy Williams

Why are people talking about it?

It goes without saying that this documentary gives a platform to many people close to R. Kelly who have stayed silent before.

However it’s hit the headlines after it emerged that singer John Legend (pictured below) was the the only major recording artist to agree to speak publicly on the documentary.

In an interview with Shadow and Act, executive producer Dream Hampton revealed that she had difficulty recruiting artists to speak for the series - with the exception of Legend.

John Legend

She said: “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 [Thompson, stage name 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. It’s that turning away that has allowed this to go on.”

Legend later tweeted that appearing in the documentary was an “easy decision”:

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Why you should watch Surviving R. Kelly…

Surviving R. Kelly has been making waves across the pond following its broadcast on Lifetime earlier this month.

R. Kelly has always denied all claims relating to sexual assault, domestic violence and abuse, and sexual misconduct with minors (he’s pictured below attending court in Chicago in 2008 during a trial for child pornography charges, of which he was acquitted).

R Kelly court

This documentary finally gives a voice to those victims who have long been silenced.

These courageous women emerge from the shadows to share their stories.

It’s an emotional, powerful and shocking documentary -  harrowing at times - but these are survivors, and they want their story to be heard, so let’s listen to them.

Watch the trailer for Surviving R. Kelly below:

Surviving R. Kelly starts Tuesday, February 5 at 10pm on Crime+Investigation (BT channel number 328/380 HD).

Crime+Investigation is one of the 60+ premium channels available for BT TV customers.

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Images: Rex Features / Crime+Investigation

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