Since the Surviving R. Kelly series premiered on Lifetime earlier this month, documenting the multitude of sexual abuse allegations against R. Kelly, many of those who knew or worked with the musician have spoken out in support of his accusers and against his alleged actions. Among them were John Legend, who never worked with R. Kelly but was one of only a few artists who agreed to appear in the docuseries; Keke Palmer, a former “student” of R. Kelly, who wrote on Instagram earlier this week that she was standing by her “sisters”; and R. Kelly’s own daughter, Buku Abi, who wrote on her Instagram Story on Thursday that “the same monster you all confronting me about is my father. I am well aware of who and what he is. I grew up in that house.”
R. Kelly has denied all accusations, but is currently under investigation in Georgia, and a prosecutor in Illinois is reportedly gathering evidence to explore the possibility of opening a formal investigation.
Though many of them declined to appear in Surviving R. Kelly, in recent days, several of R. Kelly’s past collaborators have come forward to apologize for working with him, including Lady Gaga, Chance the Rapper, and several more. Here, in reverse chronological order, are those apologies.
Celine Dion: On Monday (January 14), TMZ reported that Celine Dion‘s team is currently in the process of removing her 1998 collaboration with R. Kelly from streaming services. “I’m Your Angel” was written by Kelly and released as part of Dion’s holiday album, These Are Special Times, and was subsequently nominated for a Grammy. Dion has yet to make a public statement about working with R. Kelly.
Nick Cannon: Late last Thursday (January 10), Nick Cannon, who invited R. Kelly to feature on his 2003 song “Gigolo,” posted clips from the song’s music video on Instagram, writing in the caption that the alleged sexual misconduct from R. Kelly and other powerful men like Harvey Weinstein and Les Moonves stemmed from an inherent disrespect for women. “I will be one of the first to say on behalf of all men, I am Sorry. Please consider [me] an advocate, ally and student that needs guidance in an industry that was designed to take advantage of women. Let’s change it ALL immediately. And call it all to the table for our ignorance, wrong doings and disrespect. I apologize my Queens,” he wrote.
Phoenix: More than five years after teaming up with R. Kelly for a 2013 remix of their song “Trying to Be Cool,” the French indie pop band took to Twitter on Thursday to express their regret over the collaboration. “We fully support all victims of sexual abuse, and it’s our hope that there will be a path to justice,” they wrote.
Lady Gaga: On Wednesday evening (January 9), after facing intense scrutiny over her lack of comment on the matter, Gaga shared a lengthy statement on Twitter in which she explained how her own history with sexual assault had influenced the content of her provocative 2013 song with R. Kelly, “Do What U Want (With My Body).” She apologized for both the song and her silence, and stated her intention to remove the song from iTunes and all streaming services; by Thursday afternoon, the track was gone.
Common: In an interview with TMZ on Tuesday (January 8), Common apologized for the role he’d played in helping to brush aside the allegations against his fellow Chicago native. “We failed as a community because we knew that these things were happening, and instead of trying to be like, ‘Yo. Let’s go and try to resolve this situation and free these young ladies and stop this thing that’s going on,’ we were just like, ‘Man, we rocking to the music,'” he said. “I’m guilty of that, too, myself, because I didn’t stop and be like, ‘Yo,’ and speak against this. R. Kelly’s from my hometown. At the end of the day, he’s a human being. He has his issues and we see that, but I can’t condone that and I shouldn’t be allowing that to happen. We failed our community as black people,” he said, adding that he wouldn’t “even get into” the ways the justice system had failed the black community.
Tank: On Sunday (January 6), the R&B star, who appeared on a 2015 Chris Brown track with R. Kelly, wrote on Instagram that while he and others in the music industry have “invested so much of ourselves into this man that it’s hard for us to let go,” he “no longer [has] that issue.” He went on to write that, inspired by his desire to protect his three daughters, “I whole heartedly apologize for not coming to this realization sooner. I CANOT separate the music from the monster!”
Chance the Rapper: After the final episode of the series aired on Saturday night (January 5), Chance the Rapper addressed a moment in one episode in which he admitted making a song with R. Kelly was a “mistake” and mused on why it took him so long to believe the allegations. “We’re programmed to really be hypersensitive to black male oppression, but black women are exponentially [a] higher oppressed and violated group of people just in comparison to the whole world. Maybe I didn’t care because I didn’t value the accusers’ stories because they were black women,” he said in the episode. Later, on Twitter, he added, “I apologize to all of his survivors for working with him and for taking this long to speak out.”