After decades of legal bouts, accusations and callouts, singer, songwriter and producer R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Kelly’s lengthy imprisonment stems from his previous convictions of racketeering and violations of the Mann Act, which prohibits transporting people across state lines for prostitution. Throughout the years, Kelly is believed to have harmed dozens of minors and adults through efforts of intimidation, violence and manipulation.
While the accusations levied against Kelly date back more than 20 years, the legal and public pressure mounted against the entertainer appears to have heightened following the debut of Lifetime‘s Surviving R. Kelly. The 11-part project provided a platform for victims of abuse and manipulation to speak about their experiences with Kelly openly. Many of those who participated in the documentary were present throughout Kelly’s most recent legal proceedings in New York. After Kelly was sentenced, Surviving R. Kelly producers and a survivor of the singer’s abuse, Lisa Van Allen, spoke openly about what this recent development means.
“It brings me nothing but joy to know that I am, and will continue, to be part of the solution. I am thankful for everyone that let us be heard. I do it for anyone who feels voiceless — know that you are not alone. We aren’t victims. We are survivors. Our work isn’t done. This is just the beginning,” Van Allen told Variety.
“[The] sentencing must have his survivors feeling all kinds of ways today. But I hope they know that by finding the courage to tell their stories, they’ve helped prevent further harm. I’m honored they sat for our cameras. I’m grateful that Surviving R. Kelly had an afterlife that is this impactful,” producer Dream Hampton stated.
Kelly’s legal woes will not end in New York. He is set to stand trial for additional charges in the city of Chicago as well as in the state courts of Illinois and Minnesota.