BLACK VOICES

'Surviving R. Kelly' Producer Dream Hampton On Protecting Black Women And Girls

The executive producer told NPR that criticism of survivors who don't go to the police "confounds" her.

During an interview on NPR’s “Fresh Air” published Wednesday, “Surviving R. Kelly” executive producer dream hampton reflected on the stunning Lifetime docuseries and the struggles of black women and girls who survive abuse.

The executive producer said she is still confounded by the criticism some women who shared their abuse allegations in “Surviving R. Kelly” received for not going to the police.

“That confounds me, especially coming from black people,” she said. “I really didn’t know until I started reading these tweets directed at me and some of the survivors that we had some fantasy about there being some vice squad dedicated to kind of busting down doors for black girls and to save black girls.”

“Surviving R. Kelly,” which premiered last month, is a six-part documentary series featuring interviews with women who allege that the singer abused them.

The series helped give R. Kelly’s accusers, mostly black girls and women, a larger platform to tell their stories. It also prompted more protests and boycotts of the R&B singer and his music. During a press conference last month, Cook County State Attorney Kimberly Foxx urged victims and witnesses to come forward following the release of the docuseries. 

R. Kelly has faced sexual misconduct allegations over the course of at least two decades. He was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008 and has denied all sexual misconduct allegations against him. 

The “Surviving R. Kelly” executive producer also addressed the criminal justice system’s treatment of black people, the injustices and biases in the legal system affecting black women and girls who experience abuse, and the importance of not protecting black men “at the expense of black women.”

“We know that this system is unfair to black people — not just black men, but black people,” hampton told NPR. “We often rhetorically talk about black men being targeted and treated unfairly and abused in the criminal justice system — but it’s black people.”

She continued, “We know what this system does to us, right? So to turn to that system for justice is itself an oxymoron. But at the same time, we have a knee-jerk reaction to protect black men, always at the expense of black women.”

Elsewhere in her interview with NPR, hampton said she wants safety for all black women, including those who have “internalized the misogyny and don’t think that they deserve the safety and justice that they deserve.” 

Listen to hampton’s full interview with NPR here

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