dream hamptonLatest News and Opinion
Posted Saturday 1/19/19 at 6:13AM EST
How Surviving R. Kelly ended up on Lifetime
In late 2017, the docuseries was shopped to various networks, including all the "major black-audience-targeted channels, and received a mix of interest and hesitation," reports Dee Lockett. "I’m sure BET could’ve done it a million times if they wanted to. Instead, they booked him on their award shows," says executive producer dream hampton. The immediate difference with Lifetime, adds executive producer Jesse Daniels, was it “felt like they were all-in from the beginning.” Lifetime, though, had to come up with an angle to make the docuseries newsworthy. “The conversation then became, How do you make the strongest platform possible for these women?” says Lifetime executive Brie Bryant. “The idea was to make it a timeline doc and to start as early as possible so that we could factually lay out what happened and how it happened.” Daniels agreed: “In order to believe what’s happening now, we had to establish patterns that date back 30 years.” Surviving R. Kelly was originally envisioned as a 90-minute film, but it was expanded to six episodes after more than 50 people were interviewed.
Posted Saturday 1/12/19 at 7:05AM EST
Surviving R. Kelly producer: "I would love a social death for R. Kelly"
Producer dream hampton discussed how her six-part docuseries has influenced everybody from authorities in Chicago and Georgia to artists like Lady Gaga. "I don’t have hope in the criminal justice system," she says. "I would love a social death for R. Kelly. It’s valuable for black people to be loved by other black people because we’re not loved by the rest of society. I would like for people to know who it is they think they love, and make their decision based on that."
Posted Tuesday 1/08/19 at 7:34AM EST
Surviving R. Kelly tells an important story, but Lifetime's salaciousness hampers its message
Source: Vanity Fair
The reality TV visual tics and sound effects employed by Lifetime's six-part docuseries obscured the vital message of its survivor-led oral history, says Sonia Saraiya. Surviving R. Kelly "is a genre piece," she says. "Not science fiction or fantasy—it is difficult not to believe every painful word of this miniseries—but a uniquely televisual genre: the unscripted exposé. The story of R. Kelly and his alleged victims has been given the Lifetime treatment: shaky stock footage, melodramatic audio accompaniment, that suspense-heightening gimmick that transforms a provocative image into a haunting negative. Heavy-handed incidental music burbles and buzzes over every wrenching interview of dream hampton’s docuseries, through the words." Saraiya adds: "The Lifetime treatment is not the right genre for this story, with its catastrophic destruction and sprawling cast. The sound cues of unscripted television, with their irresolute, seedy flourishes, should have no place here, against this scale of human frailty and psychological devastation. Surviving R. Kelly is telling a complex story, but its tabloid sheen obscures its own profundity—and that salacious skin never lets up, through all six hours of the series. Horrifying as their content is, episodes even tend to repeat themselves, based on the assumption that the viewer can’t be bothered to pay more careful attention to what’s happening on-screen."
- Surviving R. Kelly is an extremely effective piece of activist entertainment journalism: "The series is comprehensively damning and powerfully disturbing—while also being riveting, a slightly queasy combination that makes perfect sense on Lifetime, a channel whose specialty has long been wringing thrills and warnings from stories about endangered women," says Willa Paskin. "As with all true crime, there is a fine line between getting the truth out and getting it out salaciously. If Surviving R. Kelly occasionally steps over that line—it can be a little too slick, particularly in the last two episodes when it seems like it wants to make news, instead of document it—it does so to make an undeniable and sickening case against Kelly."
- Surviving R. Kelly is furious, punishing, and necessary, and its fury derives from how unnecessary it should be here in 2019
- Is Surviving R. Kelly enough to end his career?
- Jada Pinkett Smith is questioning why R. Kelly sales and streams have increased since Surviving R. Kelly premiered last Thursday
- Surviving R. Kelly producers are glad to have started a national conversation: "For us as a team, it's been an unbelievable privilege to have created content that impacts culture and says something after the hour is over," says executive producer Brie Miranda Bryant. "And I think as a nation we're now recognizing that the impact that content can have on culture is extremely powerful and/or healing. I think where we are right now, it feels refreshing."
- Facebook removes page that aimed to "expose" R. Kelly accusers
- How to watch Surviving R. Kelly if you don't have cable
Posted Friday 1/04/19 at 1:41PM EST
John Legend: Don't call me "courageous" for being the highest-profile celebrity to appear in Surviving R. Kelly
Many artists -- including Jay-Z, Questlove and Lady Gaga -- declined to appear in Lifetime's six-part docuseries on the disgraced R&B singer, leaving Legend as the only high-profile name to submit to an interview. "To everyone telling me how courageous I am for appearing in the doc, it didn't feel risky at all. I believe these women and don't give a fuck about protecting a serial child rapist. Easy decision," Legend tweeted last night. Meanwhile, Questlove defended his decision not to appear in a tweet he later deleted, saying "I didn't wanna be in the 'good times' portion of the doc, like stanning for his 'genius.'" Surviving R. Kelly producer Dream Hampton responded that Questlove wasn't asked to talk about his "Genius." "I asked you to come on camera and say the same thing you said on Twitter. I told you I need Black male allies." ALSO: R. Kelly's music gets a Spotify boost from Surviving R. Kelly.