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photography Dan Jackson

Chance the Rapper apologises for working with R. Kelly

Speaking out in the Surviving R. Kelly docuseries

Last night the final episode of Surviving R. Kelly aired. The series ran in three parts from January 3 to January 5 and saw figures such as John Legend, R. Kelly’s ex-wife, and his accusers speak out against the R&B singer (with many more musicians turning down a chance to comment). In the final episode came the turn of Chance the Rapper.

Speaking in an interview with Jamilah Lemieux, Chance referred to his 2015 collaboration with R. Kelly and Jeremih, “Somewhere In Paradise”, saying: “Making a song with R. Kelly was a mistake.”

He also suggested that his willingness to look past the accusations might have had something to do with the gender of the victims. “I didn’t value the accusers’ stories because they were black women,” he explains in the interview. But Chance also took to Twitter early this morning (January 6) to clarify that last statement, saying it was taken out of context in the documentary.

“The quote is taken out of context,” the rapper writes in one tweet. “But the truth is any of us who ever ignored the R. Kelly stories, or ever believed he was being setup/attacked by the system (as black men often are) were doing so at the detriment of black women and girls.”

A video of the interview with Lemieux, shared by Chance on Twitter, also places his statement in context.

“We’re programmed to really be hypersensitive to black male oppression. It’s just prevalent in all media,” he says in the clip. “Like slavery for a lot of people, they envision men in chains, but black women are exponentially a higher oppressed and violated group of people just in comparison to the whole world. Maybe I didn’t care because I didn’t value the accusers’ stories because they were black women.”