'We have to have a reckoning': Executive producer dream hampton on Surviving R. Kelly

dream hampton executive produced Surviving R. Kelly because she believes the best way to shed light on his predatory history is through visually documenting and explaining that history.
R. Kelly performs in Chicago in 2016. A new doc, Surviving R. Kelly, takes a detailed look at the singer's history of allegations of sexual assault. (Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images)

For decades, R. Kelly has been a hugely popular and influential figure in the pop and R&B worlds, but for nearly that entire career there's been another narrative that's unfolded alongside his music.

A new docuseries called Surviving R. Kelly looks at the musician's long history of alleged sexual misconduct, particularly with underaged girls, and shines a light on the people and families involved.

"This has been going on for a long time," says executive producer dream hampton. "We have to have a reckoning."

R. Kelly has consistently denied these allegations and he's never been found guilty of any of the charges brought against him. An attorney for Kelly denies the accusations and says that the abuse allegations in the documentary are false. In an interview with the Associated Press, Kelly's Chicago attorney Steve Greenberg dismissed the allegations, calling them "another round of stories" being used to "fill reality TV time."

But that hasn't stopped the conversation around him from being one of the most polarizing topics in music. It's a story that's been discussed and debated since the early '90s, and now it's back in the spotlight thanks to Surviving R. Kelly. 

R. Kelly is an abuse victim, and I don't mean ever to minimize that- dream hampton

The story,hampton says, is also more complicated than it seems. 

"R. Kelly is an abuse victim, and I don't mean ever to minimize that," she says. "Seven to 14 is what we know, what I believe, given all the on and off camera corroboration we got, were the years that he was abused. And according to his own testimony. ... I have no doubt that R. Kelly has no idea what healthy sex and sexuality is."

She joined Tom Power from Detroit to tell us more about this project. The entire series is available now on iTunes. 

Produced by ​Tyrone Callender 

Miss an episode of CBC q? Download our podcast.