Ever since the Bill Cosby conviction, R&B singer R. Kelly has been at the forefront of the news cycle. For over two decades, Kelly has dodged allegations regarding to his sexual mistreatment of young women. After a trial in 2008 (which he was acquitted of all charges) Kelly feels the media has gone out of its way to destroy his legacy.
Stating that he is a God-fearing man, a son, a brother, and most importantly a father—he is heartbroken at how the media has found yet another way to manipulate what occurs in private life. Last month, a #MuteRKelly campaign was launched to have his label (RCA) drop him, Live Nation cancel his concerts, and to remove him from radio and streaming platforms.
The campaign was started by Oronike Odeleye and Kenyette Barnes a year ago. The campaign’s purpose is parallel to the Time’s Up WOC movement calling for all sexual misconduct towards women to cease. Since its launch, celebrities such as Shonda Rhimes, Janelle Monae, Ava DuVernay, Viola Davis, and more have announced their support of the #MuteRKelly movement.
In a open letter to The Root, the WOC division addressed several of their issues with the singer’s behavior towards black women—urging people to stop supporting him and those who profit from him.
We join the call to #MuteRKelly and insist on the safety + dignity of all women. We demand investigations into R. Kelly’s abuse allegations made by women of color + their families for two decades. We call on those who profit from his music to cut ties. #MuteRKelly #TIMESUP #WOC pic.twitter.com/TYmDRVIH00
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) April 30, 2018
R. Kelly has since responded to the movement—claiming he is being “publicly lynched” by this movement.
He’s spokesperson stated, “Kelly supports the pro-women goals of the Time’s Up movement. We understand criticizing a famous artist is a good way to draw attention to those goals—and in this case, it is unjust and off-target. We fully support the rights of women to be empowered to make their own choices. Time’s Up has neglected to speak with any of the women who welcome R. Kelly’s support, and it has rushed to judgment without the facts.
Soon it will become clear Mr. Kelly is the target of a greedy, conscious, and malicious conspiracy to demean him, his family, and the women with whom he spends his time. Kelly’s music is a part of American and African-American culture that should never—and will never—be silenced.”
There are currently no pending criminal charges against R. Kelly. What do you think about this movement? Tell me in the comments below!