After the release of Lifetime’s damning R. Kelly docuseries, as well as new criminal investigations lodged against the musician, Erykah Badu has offered somewhat of a defensive stance about his complex legal situation. Specifically, during a Saturday evening concert in Chicago, the songstress told her audience to show Kelly some peace and understanding. “I dunno how everybody else feels about it but I’m putting up a prayer right now for R,” she said, per The Guardian. “I hope he sees the light of day if he 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.” When fans booed in response, Badu expounded a bit further, clarifying that she’s not asking for forgiveness per se:
What y’all say, fuck him? That’s not love. That’s not unconditional love. But what if one of the people that was assaulted by R Kelly grows up to be an offender, we gonna crucify them?
They ’bout to R Kelly me to death on the internet, I’m like goddamn. I just want peace and light for everybody and healing for those who are hurt because everyone involved has been hurt, victimised in some kinda way. Love for everybody.”
As Badu predicted, internet backlash about her comments was swift, and she offered a follow-up tweet that seemingly addressed Kelly. “I love you. Unconditionally,” she wrote. “That doesn’t mean I support your choices.”
Kelly is currently on the receiving end of two criminal investigations. These investigations, in Atlanta and Chicago, respectively, were prompted due to the high-profile aftermath of Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly. Multiple families of Kelly’s alleged victims have since been putting pressure on local authorities in the two states to investigate claims of sexual misconduct.