Badu made the comments during a concert at Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom on January 19, saying: “I dunno how everybody else feel about it but I’m putting up a prayer right now for R. I hope he sees the light of day if he done all those things that we’ve seen on TV and heard those ladies talk about. I hope he sees the light of day and comes forward.”
Responding to a volley of boos from the audience, she continued: “What y’all say, fuck him? That’s not love. That’s not unconditional love. But what if one of the people that was assaulted by R Kelly grows up to be an offender, we gonna crucify them?
“They ’bout to R Kelly me to death on the internet, I’m like goddamn. I just want peace and light for everybody and healing for those who are hurt because everyone involved has been hurt, victimised in some kinda way. Love for everybody.”
Fans expressed shock at Badu’s comments on Twitter following the concert, with one attendee saying “i can’t get over how she tried to justify and defend R. Kelly’s actions and reputation during her set... I’m so disappointed…”.
I really want to say how much i loved Erykah Badu’s concert tonight.— jacque (@jacquemarquez_) January 20, 2019
But i can’t get over how she tried to justify and defend R. Kelly’s actions and reputation during her set... I’m so disappointed...
she mentioned r kelly and we boo’d so she should’ve known the temp of the room then— IG: @boydonavin (@boyDonavin) January 20, 2019
Badu took to Twitter after the concert, writing “I love you. Unconditionally.” in a tweet that appears to be directed towards R Kelly, adding: “That doesn’t mean I support your poor choices.”
I love you. Unconditionally.— ErykahBadoula (@fatbellybella) January 21, 2019
That doesn’t mean I support your poor choices.
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. - eb
Replying to a Twitter user who wrote “I loved you until I realised you supported a rapist and paedophile as your brother”, Badu said: “Correction, love has little to do with supporting others’ bad choices. Love is wisdom.”
R Kelly has never been convicted for his alleged crimes, which first surfaced in 2002, and denies wrongdoing, addressing them in 19-minute song ‘I Admit’ in 2018.
Patrick Hinton is Mixmag's Digital Staff Writer, follow him on Twitter