The singer Erykah Badu, who praised R. Kelly and told her audience she would pray for him during a show in Chicago on Saturday night, has become embroiled in a messy Twitter feud with the producer of Surviving R. Kelly, the shocking Lifetime documentary series that told the stories of multiple young women preyed upon by Kelly.
The fight started after Dream Hampton—the executive producer of the series—confronted Badu, asserting that the artist was asked to be in the documentary to discuss her praise of Kelly at the 2015 Soul Train Awards.
As the award-show host, Badu introduced Kelly to the stage for his performance, and described him as her “brother” who “has done more for black folks than anyone.”
On Saturday night, during a gig in Chicago, Badu launched into an extraordinary appeal for compassion and understanding for Kelly.
“I don’t know how anybody else feels about it, but I’m gonna put up a prayer right now for R.,” she said in footage obtained by TMZ, “I hope he sees the light of day if he’s done all those things we’ve seen on TV.”
Outraged members of the audience responded by shouting “Fuck him!”
That only seemed to spur Badu on: “Fuck him? That’s not love. What if one of the people who was assaulted by R. Kelly grows up to become an offender?” Badu asked. “We gonna crucify them too? How do we do this? Just something to think about.”
The crowd could be heard desperately appealing to Badu to move on, to which she replied: “They’re about to R. Kelly me to death on the Internet. I just want peace and love for everybody, healing for everybody. Healing for those who’ve been hurt, because everyone who’s been involved has been hurt.”
Badu provoked more outrage when she continued to defend her onstage prayers for Kelly, writing, “I love you. Unconditionally. That doesn’t mean I support your poor choices.”
The extraordinary comments apparently provoked Hampton to double down on claims she previously made that Badu declined to be interviewed for the series. Hampton has also claimed that Lady Gaga, Celine Dion, Jay-Z, and Dave Chappelle declined to participate.
The feud unfolded late Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning after Hampton tweeted that she had asked her producer to contact Badu, which Badu swiftly replied to, saying she had received no such approach.
In another tweet, Badu said: “I’ve never worked with him, don’t know him personally, and was never asked to be a part of the documentary.”
She then demanded an apology from the producer. Hampton responded to the demand by reiterating Badu’s 2015 remarks and claiming that Badu was asked to appear in the docuseries via a series of text messages—which she said she would not produce.