R. Kelly thinks Chris Brown is a ''strong individual'' and has likened him to Martin Luther King.

The 'Black Panties' singer said he can empathise with the R&B star, who is currently undergoing a court ordered 90-day stint at a live-in rehabilitation centre to focus on his anger issues, because he's attempting to change.

R. Kelly said: ''I only feel sorry for weak people. And mostly what I've come to find is that the weak people are the ones that are the haters.

''The ones that's talking about Chris Brown, or R. Kelly, or anybody that's successful? I feel sorry for them, not Chris Brown, because he's obviously one strong individual to be able to do what he's done.

''He got knocked down a little bit and he climbed up. You know, that sounds like Ali to me. That sounds like Martin Luther King to me.

''That sounds like a lot of the greats that have walked this earth. It even sounds a little bit like Jesus to me.''

The 46-year-old star clarified to the Guardian's G2 supplement: ''I'm not saying that Chris Brown is Jesus or R. Kelly is Jesus. But Jesus is the number one inspirer of someone being knocked down and rising again.''

Chris, 24, narrowly avoided prison during a probation status hearing stemming from his 2009 assault on then-girlfriend, pop star Rihanna.