(CNN)“Surviving R. Kelly” brought about a major stir when it premiered on Lifetime a yr in the past, resulting in the singer’s arrest on sexual assault costs less than two months later. “Surviving R. Kelly Half II: The Reckoning” advances the ball as a protracted replace, however in a style that — by in search of to symbolize each storyline of the case — at occasions feels disorganized in wrestling with all these angles.
‘Surviving R. Kelly’ sequel expands its lens into the case with ‘The Reckoning’
There’s an terrible lot to soak up, together with — in probably the most chilling accounts — interviews with ladies who got here ahead after the preliminary telecast. But this 5-half, three-night time presentation darts about between the micro and macro — from accusers’ private tales to the necessity to “open up broader conversations in society,” as Marketing campaign Zero co-founder Brittany Packnett Cunningham places it.
The problem is that touching upon so many numerous threads dangers diluting the main target from the elemental situation on the coronary heart of the Kelly story, which stays, as articulated by writer Jim DeRogatis, “How did he get away with this for 30 years?”
“The Reckoning” begins by recapping the unique and the fallout related to it. The opening hour then segues into an examination of Kelly’s adolescence, which reportedly included being sexually victimized himself at a younger age.
The intent seems to be present a measure of stability — by way of voices sympathetic to the singer — and an understanding of the best way that cycles of abuse can happen. As introduced, although, it seems like a clumsy place to start out, diverting consideration from the place it primarily belongs, with Kelly’s accusers.
There’s additionally an in depth part towards the top dedicated to Kelly’s girlfriends Azriel Clary and Joycelyn Savage, who defended him in connection together with his tear-crammed Gayle King interview, and subsequent efforts by their households to succeed in them — materials not as compelling, finally, as the primary-individual recollections.
In one of the sobering interviews, Tiffany Hawkins recollects being solely 15 when she got here into Kelly’s orbit, detailing the best way he leveraged his stardom by asking the aspiring singer to deliver different star-struck teenagers over. Hawkins — who later sued Kelly — cites her want to remain in his good graces, saying of introducing him to buddies and having intercourse with him, “It is what I knew I needed to do so as to fulfill him and to maintain myself round.” (Kelly has repeatedly denied allegations of sexual misconduct and pleaded not guilty in August to expenses of racketeering, kidnapping, pressured labor and sexual exploitation of a kid in a federal case unrelated to Hawkins.)
“The Reckoning” does an admirable job of delving into the surroundings that allowed Kelly to function the best way he allegedly did, with enablers cashing in on his music and aggressive use of non-disclosure agreements to silence alleged victims.
The documentary’s extra international view consists of analyzing the connection of African-American males to the justice system; the truth that Kelly allegedly preyed on younger ladies of colour from economically deprived backgrounds, who have been particularly weak; and the willingness of Kelly’s supporters to right away model the ladies liars, together with the threats accusers and their households subsequently confronted.
“Surviving R. Kelly Half II” shows a prolonged on-display disclaimer spelling out Kelly’s denial of the fees, a reminder that his trial is scheduled to begin within the spring.
Within the massive image, this comply with-up docu-collection underscores the position its predecessor performed in bringing about Kelly’s arrest, one of many signature moments of the shifting attitudes mirrored by the #MeToo movement. The unique documentary, nevertheless, arrived considerably beneath the radar, whereas an acute sense of that significance seemingly weighs on the sequel, in a method that, strictly from a TV standpoint, blunts its influence.
“Surviving R. Kelly Half II: The Reckoning” airs Jan. 2-four on Lifetime.