Chance The Rapper Apologizes For Working With R. Kelly, Speaks Up in Support Of Victims

The Chicago-born star admits he undervalued Black women’s stories.

Chance The Rapper
Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images

Chance The Rapper is owning up to his blind spots. As Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly docu-series wrapped up on Saturday night, the Chicago-born musician took to Twitter to apologize for working with Kelly, an accused sexual predator, and elaborate on why he had previously been in denial about the truth of Kelly’s accusers’ claims. Responding to a Rolling Stone article that quoted a Chance interview from the series, he wrote using the Notes app: “The quote was taken out of context, but the truth is any of us who ever ignored the R Kelly stories, or ever believed he was being setup/attacked by the system (as black men often are) were doing so at the detriment of black women and girls. I apologize to all of his survivors for working with him and for taking this long to speak out.”

A few hours later, he followed up with another tweet reminding his followers that everyone is capable of prejudice, writing, “Anyone mentioning that I have black women in my family is deliberately missing the point. Regardless of the proximity of beneficial BW in your life, or being black yourself, we are all capable of subconsciously discrediting BW and their stories because its indoctrinated.”

Chance also posted a 46-second clip of the interview in question, in which he explained that while he was attuned to the ways that black men are oppressed in America and the even greater, underrepresented struggles of black women, which is why he failed to adequately take R. Kelly’s accusers into account when deciding whether to work with the musician. Chance and Kelly collaborated on multiple projects and performed on the same stage. He said in the interview, conducted by Jamilah Lemieux, “I’m happy that those women are getting voices now and I can grow to understand better what my positioning should be.”

Later, Lemieux highlighted the rapper’s efforts at sincere self-evaluation, tweeting, “I’m not defending Chance’s decision to do the record. I’m not absolving him of the sins of his past. I’m acknowledging his contrition and supporting his efforts to learn and do better. I thought that was the goal: men stepping up and doing better.”

Singer John Legend, who also appeared in Lifetime’s series, used Twitter to clarify something about his participation as well: “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.”

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The Rio Art Museum.

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