“I’m putting up a prayer right now for [R. Kelly],” Badu told audience members at the Aragon Ballroom. “I hope he sees the light of day if he’s 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.”
Someone can be heard yelling, “Shut up!” as Badu’s comments draw both muffled boos and cheers from the audience.
Badu continued, “What if one of the people that was assaulted by R. Kelly grows up to be an offender? Are we gonna crucify them? I mean, how do we do this? It’s just something to think about.”
It’s unclear if Badu meant to defend R. Kelly in her remarks. A representative for Badu did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
Badu clarified her comments in a tweet Sunday night, noting that some reports about her R. Kelly statement had been “taken out of context.”
“I love you. Unconditionally,” Badu tweeted. “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.”
Twitter users had blasted Badu for not taking a stronger stand against R. Kelly, the subject of Lifetime docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly,” which explores accusations from several women who say the R&B icon sexually abused them when they were underage.
Some Twitter users defended Badu and claimed her comments weren’t intended to justify R. Kelly’s alleged behavior.
Badu reportedly declined to appear in Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly.” Fans speculated that her recent Instagram post addressed the R. Kelly controversy, which she appeared to confirm in a comment to a fan.
“‘Having Eyes that can see all points of view is a blessing ... and a curse in the court of public opinion.’ - a mother,” Badu had posted. “I C on both sides like Chanel.”
“I loved you until I realized you support a rapist and pedophile as your brother,” one Instagram user commented on the post.
Badu wrote back, “Correction: Love has very little to do with supporting others’ bad choices. Love is wisdom.”
Badu faced scrutiny last January for saying she sees “something good” in Adolf Hitler during an interview with Vulture.
“I’m a humanist,” she said. “I see good in everybody. I saw something good in Hitler.”
She added, “I love Bill Cosby, and I love what he’s done for the world. But if he’s sick, why would I be angry with him? The people who got hurt, I feel so bad for them. I want them to feel better, too. But sick people do evil things; hurt people hurt people.”
This story has been updated to include additional comments from Badu.