Questlove Explains Why He Refused To Do A ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ Interview

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The long-awaited Surviving R. Kelly docuseries is currently airing on Lifetime (two more episodes will premiere tonight, with the show’s concluding pair of episodes showing tomorrow night, January 5) and has already become a source of debate, discussion, and expression of disgust. While the show itself focuses on the pattern of alleged abuse perpetrated by the Chicago singer, some of the public’s ire has been reserved for a set of musical stars who series producer Dream Hampton says declined to interview for the series for various reasons. The list included hip-hop luminaries like Jay-Z, Lil Kim, and Questlove of The Roots.

The latter, however, seemed unsatisfied with the bum rap Hampton’s quote seemed to saddle him with and took to Twitter to elaborate. “I always thought Kels was trash,” he wrote in a now-deleted tweet. “My reason for declining the R Kelly docu that I support 10000000 percent is I didn’t wanna be in the ‘good times’ portion of the doc, like stanning for his ‘genius.’ I was asked to talk about his genius. I do not nor have I EVER stanned for him.”

Quest deleted the tweet when Hampton quoted it and responded with an explanation of her own. “I didn’t ask you about his ‘genius,'” she replied. “I never thought he was a genius. I asked you to come on camera and say the same thing you said on Twitter. I told you I need Black male allies.”


Whether Quest’s response resulted from a case of misunderstanding or just trying to save face online in the wake of a backlash, the exchange ultimately ended with Quest deleting the original tweet and replacing it with a retweet of Hampton’s October 2018 interview about the doc with Rolling Stone.

Meanwhile, Hampton did receive the co-sign of at least one Black male ally: John Legend was unequivocal in his reasoning why he joined the documentary. “I believe these women and don’t give a fuck about protecting a serial child rapist,” he wrote. “Easy decision.”