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Lifetime’s ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ documentary screening ‘unmasked the power’ of the controversial star


Prince Williams/WireImageThe Lifetime docuseries, Surviving R. Kelly, was unveiled on Monday night during a private screening at A&E’s New York City headquarters. 

In a lofty conference room, in Midtown Manhattan, the first two episodes of the six-part series were put on display as activists and members of the press took on the jarring details of R. Kelly‘s controversial persona. 

Filmed in the style of a timeline documentary, the first episode begins by exploring Kelly’s childhood in his native Chicago during the 1970s. It is here that viewers gain a sense of what may have ultimately driven the “Bump n’ Grind” singer to prey on young women. The following episode then dives into the singer’s legal troubles, beginning with his highly-publicized child pornography case in 2008. 

Shortly after the screening, director Dream Hampton expounded on how she developed the first two episodes of the series. “We got a chance over six episodes to do a lot of different things,” she began. “I knew it was important to establish who he is, in terms of his personal life.” 

She continued, “Those [first] two episodes were very challenging for me. Watching some of these links has been devastating. It’s been a really dark time.”

As previously reported, Surviving R. Kelly features in-depth interviews with over 50 people including John Legend, Wendy Williams, Kelly’s ex-wife Andrea Kelly, former girlfriend Kitti Jones, singer Sparkle and Kelly’s brothers Carey and Bruce Kelly.

The three-night event premieres January 3, 2019 at 9 p.m on Lifetime. It will continue on January 4, and conclude on January 5.

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