Lady Gaga shared a note on Twitter last night apologising for collaborating with R. Kelly on 2013’s “Do What U Want”, promising to remove the song from streaming services.
Gaga, a sexual assault survivor herself, wrote that she recorded the song during a “dark time” in her life. “My intention was to create something extremely defiant and provocative because I was angry and still hadn’t processed the trauma that had occurred in my own life,” she wrote. “The song is called ‘Do What U Want (With My Body)’, I think it’s clear how explicitly twisted my thinking was at the time.”
“If I could go back and have a talk with my younger self I’d tell her to go through the therapy I have since then, so that I could understand the confused post-traumatic state that I was in – or if therapy was not available to me or anyone in my situation – to seek help, and speak as openly and honestly as possible about what we’ve been through.”
Since Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly documentary premiered last week, there has been pressure on a number of Kelly’s former collaborators to denounce the R&B star, who has been accused of sexually abusing a number of women and underage girls.
dream hampton, Surviving R. Kelly’s showrunner, explicitly called out Lady Gaga for declining to appear on the show: “I wanted to know how Lady Gaga could be on SNL with him as someone who advocates for domestic abuse survivors... (She) had this ridiculous performance with him on SNL,” hampton said on SiriusXM’s The Karen Hunter Show.
As Complex point out, when “Do What U Want” was first released, it was criticised for being so sexually explicit, given the allegations around Kelly. Gaga and Kelly filmed a music video for it that was reportedly scrapped in light of the allegations around both Kelly and the video’s director, Terry Richardson. Two months later, The Village Voice published a long interview with the reporter Jim DeRogatis, who first broke the accusations and has pursued justice for Kelly’s alleged victims for years.
R. Kelly denies the allegations against him. Read Lady Gaga’s statement below.