Erykah Badu Defends Herself After Criticism Over R. Kelly Comments During Chicago Concert

Badu’s comments were met with boos from the crowd

Singer Erykah Badu is defending herself after criticism over comments she made about R. Kelly during a Chicago concert over the weekend.

While performing at the Aragon Ballroom Saturday, Badu told the crowd she’s “putting up a prayer for R.”

“I hope he sees the light of day and if he’s done all those things that we’ve seen on TV and heard those ladies talk about – I hope he sees the light of day and comes forward,” she said, referencing a recent Lifetime docuseries where alleged victims accused the hip hop star of sexual, mental and physical abuse.

Hours after protesters demonstrated outside R. Kelly’s Chicago studio, the rapper – facing increased scrutiny over allegations of a range of misconduct – reportedly partied at a nightclub on the city’s South Side Wednesday night, videos posted on social media appear to show. Sandra Torres reports. 

Badu’s comment was met with boos from the crowd.

“What you all say? ‘F--- him?’” she said. “That’s not love. That’s not unconditional love.”

She added, “what if one of the people who was assaulted by R. Kelly becomes an offender?”

“We gonna crucify them too?” she asked.

Social media users began criticizing Badu, saying she was defending Kelly in wake of the latest allegations. Others defended her. 

“I hope you’re aware of how your fans (some who are victims of sexual violence) see your comments as softening his terror,” one user wrote.

Badu, appearing to reference the comments she made onstage, tweeted Sunday, “I love you. Unconditionally.”

“That doesn’t mean I support your poor choices,” she wrote. “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.”

The comments are similar to ones Badu has made in the past.

Almost exactly one year ago the singer was defending herself following a controversial interview in which she said she sees a “good” side to everyone, including Adolf Hitler.

"I see good in everybody. I saw something good in Hitler," she said in the interview. Badu called him a "wonderful painter" and said he had a "terrible childhood," when asked to elaborate.

Badu, in that same interview, also said she loves Bill Cosby and supported the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has been accused of anti-Semitism.

In the 20 years since her groundbreaking debut "Baduizm," Badu has continued to make music, been a doula and a TV host — including the Soul Train Awards on BET, where she introduced Kelly in 2015, saying he has done “more for black people” than anyone.

Stunning revelations from a new documentary about Chicago native R. Kelly, has a lot of people talking. NBC 5’s Christian Farr has the latest.

Executive producer for Lifetime's "Surviving R. Kelly," Dream Hampton, said Badu was one of several celebrities asked to appear on the docuseries but did not. 

"We asked Lady Gaga. We asked Erykah Badu. We asked Celine Dion. We asked Jay-Z. We asked Dave Chappelle. [They're] people who have been critical of him," Hampton told the Detroit Free Press.

In the weeks since the docuseries debuted, Sony has parted ways with Kelly, his former manager turned himself in for allegedly threatening a Georgia man who accused the singer of sexual abuse, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx called for potential victims to come forward and protests erupted in Chicago. In a recent interview with NBC's Dateline, a former intern at Epic Records also accused the singer of sexually abusing her when she was 16 years old. 

Kelly has long-denied sexual abuse allegations made against him and continued to deny the claims made in the latest series “Surviving R. Kelly.”

Contact Us