In the aftermath of the controversial, record-breaking premiere of Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly” last January, the network will debut a two-hour follow-up special, “Surviving R. Kelly: The Impact,” detailing the conversations and reactions ignited by the powerful documentary series.
Hosted by award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien, “Surviving R. Kelly: The Impact” premieres Saturday, May 4 at 10 p.m., and highlights the impact the documentary has had on our culture globally, how it has elevated the conversation on sexual violence and what it means to be a survivor.
The network states that that in the days following the debut of “Surviving R. Kelly” on Lifetime, vital conversations erupted throughout the country. Calls to sexual assault hotlines increased by 35%, and #MuteRKelly activists were galvanized to protest for R. Kelly’s record label to drop him. Public outcry ensured the survivors would not be ignored and more women came forward with allegations of abuse. Seven weeks after the debut of the docuseries, the Cook County attorney’s office indicted the R&B singr on 10 felony counts of aggravated sexual assault involving four victims and spanning over a decade, ultimately leading to Kevin’s arrest.
The special features footage from the docuseries, interviews with journalists, legal experts, non-profit organizaitons and psychologists to discuss the ongoing story surrounding R. Kelly, including an in-depth look at the thee-time Grammy winner’s explosive interview with veteran broadcast journalist Gayle King of “CBS This Morning.” As the highly agitated 6’1” singer stood over her shouting, “Y’all tryna kill me! This is not about music! I’m tryna have a relationship with my kids, and I can’t do it! Y’all just don’t wanna believe the truth! Y’all don’t wanna believe it!” King maintained a stoic and professional demeanor, urging gently, but firmly, “Robert...Robert..” until Kelly’s publicist walked onto the set to calm Kelly down and escort him briefly off the set.
King’s interview had such an impact on social media that excerpts were aired as a CBS primetime special, “The Gayle King Interview with R. Kelly.” The special also included King’s interviews with Azriel Clary and Jocelyn Savage, two women who were living with Kelly.
Over 26 million people have now seen “Surviving R. Kelly”, which has been named the recipient of the 2019 LA Press Club President’s Award for Impact on Media. In addition, showrunner dream hampton was named as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People
In a preview for “Surviving R. Kelly: The Impact,” music industry journalist Shani Saxon said, “This series has lit a fire under the conversation about sexual abuse.”