The 4 biggest scandals in music
Their songs are the soundtrack of our lives – but their personal scandals as just as famous.
From Milli Vanilli’s lip-sync tragedy to Kanye West’s outburst at the 2008 VMAs, to Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl saga, the music industry has always courted controversy and scandals, proving over and over why celebrities might not always be the best role models to look up to.
The music of these four icons defined a generation, but their careers were mired in some of the biggest scandals ever to hit the tabloids.
For years, he was followed by allegations of abuse, even facing criminal charges. Although he was never found guilty in court, his music career was never quite the same. To this day, accusations follow him even to his grave, fuelled by allegations such as those made in the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland.
In this documentary, two of MJ’s accusers – Wade Robson and James Safechuck, now in their 30s -reveal chilling and uncannily similar accounts (despite not knowing each other) of how they were befriended and abused by the pop legend as children.
Watch Leaving Neverland on Showmax.
Once labelled the King of RnB, allegations of sexual abuse and predatory pursuit of young girls have rocked R. Kelly’s life and career for years. In 1994, at age 27, R. Kelly shocked the world when he married singer Aaliyah who was only 15 years old at the time. The controversial union was preceded by the release of Aaliyah’s debut album Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number, produced by R. Kelly.
Several allegations of predatory sexual misconduct followed, including alleged involvement in child pornography and a sex cult. But even with the seriousness of this issue and a #MuteRKelly movement in 2018, it took a Lifetime documentary for R. Kelly to finally be dropped from his label and to be formally charged in court.
The six-part documentary, Surviving R. Kelly offers a detailed account of the sexual abuse allegations levelled against R. Kelly as several women share harrowing experiences of how they suffered at the hands of the singer.
Watch Surviving R. Kelly on Showmax.
Celebrities pay a high price for fame, and pop icon Britney Spears is no stranger to the dark side of success. Britney was catapulted to pop stardom at just 17 with the release of Baby One More Time in 1998. But her successful music career was marred by the scandals that defined her dark 2000s era, including the 2007 meltdown that saw her shave her head and attack a paparazzo’s car with an umbrella. While Britney has attempted to bounce back, and with some success, she might never achieve her past glory as personal and legal troubles continue to haunt her, a depressing reality for the woman who was once known as the Queen of Pop.
In the biographical film Britney Ever After starring Natasha Basset as Britney, follow the story of the popstar’s rise to fame, the scandals that defined her fall from grace and her big comeback in 2016.
Watch Britney Ever After on Showmax.
Known as the Princess of RnB, Aaliyah was also a pop culture and style icon. She was introduced to R. Kelly by her uncle when she was only 12, and became his protégée. R. Kelly would later produce and write most of the songs in her debut album Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number, an instant hit that also attracted controversy with its adult lyrical content, seeing as Aaliyah was only 15 at the time while Kelly was 27. A few months after the release of the album, R. Kelly secretly married the teenager, listing her on the marriage certificate as 18.
Follow Aaliyah’s life and her journey to fame up until her untimely death in a 2001 plane crash in the Bahamas in the biopic Aaliyah: The Princess of RnB.
Watch Aaliyah: The Princess of RnB on Showmax.