Activist filmmaker dream hampton on ‘Surviving R. Kelly’

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Chicago Sun-Times journalists Jim DeRogatis and Abdon Pallasch first wrote about R. Kelly’s alleged sexual pursuit of underage girls in December 2000. Yet for years, there were no significant repercussions.

Yes, in 2002 Kelly faced  21 counts of child pornography after a video leaked that allegedly showed him engaging in shocking conduct with a 14-year-old. But after Kelly’s lawyers delayed a trial for years, he was acquitted.

In 2017, DeRogatis returned with another bombshell expose in Buzzfeed about Kelly allegedly holding multiple girls in a kind of sex cult in his Atlanta mansion.

That sparked the 6-part Lifetime docuseries ‘Surviving R. Kelly,’ which finally prompted stars including Lady Gaga and Chance the Rapper to denounce the singer. He was also dropped by Sony’s RCA Records.

The series tracks years of allegations against Kelly, using first-person accounts from many of his alleged victims and from people who have known and worked with him.

Making ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ was obviously a fraught proposition that elicited threats both legal and physical. The executive producer and showrunner of the series is dream hampton. She tells us about some of the challenges of creating ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ and what the reaction has been like for her since the series aired.

Lifetime will re-air part of ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ on February 25th.




Kim Masters


Kaitlin Parker