Everything That’s Happened To R. Kelly Since Lifetime Aired Its ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ Documentary


In the weeks since Surviving R. Kelly aired on Lifetime, it seems the R&B singer’s fortunes have shifted pretty significantly. Initially, it looked like things would work out for Kelly as they always had. After the first night aired, streams of his albums and songs spiked significantly, leading some to question whether Surviving R. Kelly had accomplished the goal of muting the long-tenured singer, whose hits included “I Believe I Can Fly” from the Space Jam soundtrack and popular collaborations with other stars from Jay-Z to Lady Gaga. Then, gradually but steadily, things began to change.

While his star had already dimmed somewhat in recent years, the renewed focus on his alleged abuses has caused many of those who previously associated with Kelly or capitalized on his successes to reexamine their relationships with him. His collaborators, his label, his management, and his PR representation have all cut ties, and more women have spoken out against him with new allegations. The momentum to #MuteRKelly has picked up enough steam that the singer has no longer been able to avoid repercussions for his alleged predatory behavior. Here’s a timeline of everything that’s changed for him since Surviving R. Kelly aired.

Radio Backlash

Although the response to the series was initially beneficial for Kelly, with a streaming increase of 116% in the days after it began airing, an industry-wide correction followed. Two radio stations in Dallas were the first to announce they’d no longer play Kelly’s hits, while stations in Atlanta and other major markets followed suit (stations in New York and Los Angeles had already banned the singer’s music before the documentary aired).

Criminal Investigation

Days after Surving R. Kelly concluded its run, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office in Georgia, where Kelly currently resides part-time and is accused of keeping women in a “sex cult,” opened an official criminal investigation into the singer’s activities. While police had made informal “wellness checks” on one of the women after her parents accused Kelly of holding her against her will, forward progress on the investigation had stalled out, because the women under his alleged control are all of consenting age.