Surviving R Kelly, the four-episode series launched by Lifetime Channel that investigates the accusations of sexual abuse of the famous rapper, has led to one of the biggest television controversies of the year. Guidedoc takes a look at this serial documentary that goes beyond pointing to an individual but to the entire entertainment industry.
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Formed by four 48-minutes-long episodes, Survivin R Kelly begins by showing us a group of women who call themselves survivors or victims of Robert Sylvester Kelly A. K. A. R Kelly, one of the most influential RnB artists in the history of that genre. Sitting in front of a green background, Lisa, Jerhonda, Kanika and other women are presented as the voices that will give truth to the revelations to come.
Later on, everything is spun like in a long trailer. A large number of interviewees, including two Kelly’s brothers, his former producer and tour manager, journalists and back up singers testify about the different episodes in Kelly's life in which he was involved in manipulation and sexual acts with underage women.
There is a huge amount of archive images. Photographs, recorded interviews, TV News, legal documents and other materials that illustrate what the interviewees say, each one from their perspective, thus building the portrait of a predator. The appearances of John Legend and Chance the rapper are important, validating these accusations, which have been constantly denied by Kelly.
In fact, after several trials, Kelly has been found innocent in each of them. It is here when the documentary stands out, leaving aside its merely journalistic objective and reflects on what has been a veiled practice in the music industry. Only a few songs are pointed out within a dense body of work about underage girls being sexual targets. Not even the Beatles are left out.
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