Singer Erykah Badu and rapper Da Brat expressed support for singer R. Kelly amid a litany of sexual misconduct allegations (including accusations of having sexual relationships with minors) against him.
Badu, 47, told her Chicago audience Saturday that she was “puttin’ up a prayer right now” for Kelly, who was the subject of Lifetime docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly,” which resurfaced a slew of sexual abuse allegations against the “Ignition” singer.
She added that she hopes Kelly “sees the light of day and comes forward” and that he “deserves unconditional love.”
Badu’s audience wasn’t on board with her stance, with many booing her and some even leaving, according to video provided by TMZ, but instead of backing off, she doubled down.
“But y’all say ‘f—k it,'” she scolded the crowd. “See, that’s not love. That’s not unconditional. But what if one of the people that was assaulted by R. Kelly grows up to be an offender, we gonna crucify them? I mean how do we do this? Just something to think about.”
Twitter exploded after the video went viral, with fans of Badu slamming her for empathizing with an alleged sexual abuser.
Another user wrote, “Erykah Badu came to Chicago and told us all she finna love R Kelly anyway & we can keep our opinion to ourselves. Mad disrespectful to our city and a sh–ty use of her platform.”
Others brought up Badu’s past comments saying she saw “something good” in, of all people, Adolf Hitler, and that she “loves” Bill Cosby, who was convicted of sexual assault.
After receiving backlash on social media, the “Tyrone” singer attempted to clarify her comments, tweeting Sunday night, “I love you. Unconditionally. That doesn’t mean I support your poor choices. 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.”
Badu wasn’t alone in her defense of Kelly.
Da Brat told TMZ on Sunday that while she believes Kelly’s accusers, she also blames their parents for putting them in situations in which they’d encounter the alleged sexual predator.
“I can’t stop listening to the music. I’ll never stop listening to the music. I might not buy it no more, but it’s already in my playlist!”
Meanwhile, on Monday, Kelly’s ex-wife, Andrea, and his daughter Joann told “Good Morning Britain” they believe his accusers, but cannot confirm or deny the accusers’ allegations as they haven’t lived through them themselves.
Kelly and his attorneys have vehemently denied all allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse.