ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - R&B singer R. Kelly was indicted Friday on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse charges before surrendering to police in Cook County, Illinois. And many people are crediting Lifetime Network's bombshell "Surviving R. Kelly" documentary series for setting the stage for recent legal developments.
The six-part television event debuted on the network in January. It chronicles the Grammy winner's alleged decades-long history of sexually abusing women and underage girls. In the program, several women claim they were sexually and emotionally manipulated by the star.
Atlanta-based filmmaker Tamra Simmons worked as an executive producer on the docuseries. She said it took more than two years to make. Simmons spoke with FOX 5's Marissa Mitchell soon after the news of the indictment. Although she expressed pride in the impact the series made, she insisted the real heroes are the women featured in it.
"It's really not about me, or the other producers, or the network. It's about these women because we are black women, and our voices usually are not heard," Simmons told Mitchell.
Simmons said she had the chance to thank a few of the women Friday for their participation in "Surviving R. Kelly."
"Thank you for trusting us with your story because you didn't have to do that. Because of your bravery, you see the results today," she tearfully recounted.
"Surviving R. Kelly" also showcased activists that kept abuse claims about Kelly in the spotlight over the years. One segment displayed FOX 5's coverage of Kenyette Tisha Barnes' #MuteRKelly movement. The Atlanta-based activist held online protests as well as demonstrations outside the singer's concerts in multiple cities.
"This is truly a day of reckoning. This is a day of accountability. For years, survivors and activists have been on the front lines grinding and beating the horn that R. Kelly needs to be held accountable," Barnes stressed.
R. Kelly has denied all sex abuse and misconduct claims against him.