Billboard News 1/21/19
Erykah Badu turned to Twitter to try reframe her comments after she appeared to defend R. Kelly during a concert in Chicago.
While on stage at Aragon Ballroom on Saturday, Badu told her fans she was “puttin’ up a prayer right now” for R. Kelly, despite the waves of shocking accusations made against the R&B star in Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly docuseries. The veteran singer also told of her hopes that, someday, Kelly sees “the light of day and comes forward.”
Her message fell flat. “But y’all say ‘fuck it!’ See, that’s not love. That’s not unconditional,” she reacted. “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.” The audience’s boos and groans are audible in the fan-filmed video below, and the backlash spilled online over the weekend.
Later, Erykah clarified her message on social media. “I love you. Unconditionally. That doesn’t mean I support your poor choices,” she tweeted. “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 has backed R. Kelly in the past. In 2015, she introduced the singer at the Soul Train Awards, where she remarked he had “done more for black people than anyone,” Spin notes, despite lingering questions about his behavior.