Jada Pinkett Smith is “having a really difficult time understanding why” R. Kelly’s music streams have spiked on Spotify following the release of the gut-wrenching docuseries Surviving R. Kelly, which details allegations of his history as an alleged serial sexual predator.
Kelly has faced accusations of child and sexual abuse since the 1990s when it was first reported that he married and slept with singer Aaliyah when she was just 15 years old. In the new six-part docuseries, people affiliated with the R&B singer testified to witnessing the 51-year-old singer’s abusive behavior over the course of his career. Meanwhile, multiple women of color described the sexual, physical, and emotional abuse that they survived as teens in chilling detail.
Yet, despite the disturbing revelations about Kelly, Spotify revealed that his streams have jumped by 16% since part 1 of the series aired on Jan. 6, reported The Blast. Pinkett Smith responded to the surprising news in a Twitter video.
“I’m having a really difficult time understanding why,” she said of the increase in Kelly’s popularity. “But I think it’s important I understand why.” The “Red Table Talk” host added, “I really don’t want to believe that it’s because Black girls don’t matter enough. Or is that the reason?”
How is it that R Kelly's music sales have spiked (substantially) since the release of the docuseries Surviving R Kelly? I need some help in understanding. What am I missing??? pic.twitter.com/pysqVxLzyi— Jada Pinkett Smith (@jadapsmith) January 6, 2019
To Pinkett Smith’s point, many fans and people within the music industry continued to express support for Kelly, including rapper Joyner Lucas, who in a series of now-deleted tweets, sympathized with the accused abuser. Other argued that Kelly is a victim of a smear campaign.
On the other hand, notable celebrities and influencers criticized the singer as well as the fans and people in the music industry for being complicit in his abuse.
Watching @dreamhampton's #SurvivingRkelly has me furious at our culture's resistance to condemning him for the predator he is. If this had been your daughter, would you tell her: '..but Baby, he wrote 'I believe I can fly'?— Boris Kodjoe (@BorisKodjoe) January 7, 2019
Honestly I just can't look at Lady Gaga and not think about how she just very recently collaborated with RKelly and refused to speak about him to #SurvivingRKelly. I just can't even look at her.— Erin Biba (@erinbiba) January 7, 2019
How many of you guys are boycotting the NFL because of how they treated one person (Colin Kaepernick), but can’t boycott R. Kelly despite how he’s treated dozens of young black girls? #SurvivingRKelly— William Ketchum III (@WEKetchum) January 7, 2019
Black Enterprise Editor-at-Large Alfred Edmond also weighed in on the troubling allegations.
This comes months after Spotify placed a temporary ban on Kelly’s music back in June under a hate conduct policy. The streaming platform later decided to lift the ban.