Many musicians have publicly distanced themselves from R Kelly amidst allegations of sexual abuse. Even French Montana, who initially defended the embattled R&B singer, later issued a statement to express his support for Kelly’s alleged victims.
There is, however, at least one musician still willing to defend Kelly. While performing in Chicago on Saturday night, Erykah Badu paused her concert to “say a prayer right now for [Kelly].”
Badu initially acknowledged Kelly’s allegations — “I hope he sees the light of day if he’s done all those things we’ve seen on TV.” However, after some audience members began shouting, “Fuck him!”, Badu seemed to jump to Kelly’s defense.
“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.”
Badu acknowledged that her comments would be met with criticism. “They’re about to R Kelly me to death on the Internet,” she quipped, before adding, “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.”
TMZ obtained video of Badu’s remarks, which you can watch below. As you’ll see, several audience members can be heard expressing their frustration with Badu and pleading with her to move on.
Update – January 21st: Badu has taken to Twitter to clarify her comments. “I love you. Unconditionally. That doesn’t mean I support your poor choices,” Badu writes. “I want healing for you and anyone you have hurt as a result of you being hurt. Is that strange to you ? That’s all I’ve ever said. Anything else has been fabricated or taken out of context.”
Badu’s on-stage comments arrive only three days after she raised eyebrows with an Instagram post that similarly offered her support for Kelly. “Having eyes that can see all points of view is a blessing… and a curse in the court of public opinion,” she wrote in a caption. When a fan accused her of supporting a “rapist and paedophile as your brother,” Badu responded: “Correction, love has little to do with supporting others’ bad choices. Love is wisdom.”
At the 2015 Soul Train Awards, Badu introduced Kelly by saying he “has done more for black people than anyone.”
It should be noted that Badu was one of many celebrities who declined to take part in Lifetime’s Surviving R Kelly docu-series.