Syleena Johnson credits R. Kelly for the success of her debut single "I Am Your Woman," although she no longer sings the song due to the lyrics' underlying meaning.
"[R.Kelly] wasn't trying to hurt me. He was trying to give me a good song but those lyrics came from that mindset that we now know of," she told ABC Audio, referring to the singer's recent indictment.
R. Kelly heads to trial in September where he faces four charges of sexual abuse and exploiting underage girls over the course of 25 years.
"I feel like those lyrics could offend someone. Not the actual women that have come out, but a woman that has been raped, a woman that has been in a predicament similar," she said. "She's in the audience, I'm singing these lyrics, she starts crying...I don't want to be responsible for that."
R.Kelly's music lyrics became scrutinized after the release of Lifetime's Surviving R. Kelly documentary, as fans weighed if they could still enjoy his music knowing it was inspired by his relationships with the alleged victims.
"I don't feel people should feel bad about listening to his music. I hear that a lot from people, 'I'm not listening to his music anymore'," Johnson told ABC Audio. "I don't think it's your fault. We're not responsible for what has been revealed about him as an individual. We gravitated to the music that was beautiful...that we loved...that meant something for us at the time."
If found guilty, R. Kelly faces up to 30 years in prison.
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