R. Kelly is accused of keeping and training women as “pets” in a captive harem. We’ve heard the horrifying allegations about Kelly’s sex cult, and multiple women who escaped have shared their stories.
Despite all of this, his career is still going strong. He has a concert scheduled for next week.
And the Time’s Up movement is coming for him.
Time’s Up released a statement, specifically from women of color within their ranks.
“As women of color within Time’s Up, we recognize that we have a responsibility to help right this wrong. We intend to shine a bright light on our WOC sisters in need. It is our hope that we will never feel ignored or silenced ever again.”
(If you don’t read a lot of intersectional feminist writing, WOC is an abbreviation for women of color)
“The recent court decision against Bill Cosby is one step toward addressing these ills, but it is just a start.”
Cosby was found guilty at his retrial, in what many see as a triumphant blow against sex monsters who have gone too long without facing justice.
“We call on people everywhere to join with us to insist on a world in which women of all kinds can pursue their dreams free from sexual assault, abuse and predatory behavior.”
And they see their next focus as R. Kelly.
“To this end, today we join an existing online campaign called #MuteRKelly.”
R. Kelly is believed to have targeted and “trained” numerous women, including minor girls, to serve him sexually.
Survivors accuse him of inflicting punishments such as isolation, food-deprivation, and physical beatings to these women.
“Over the past 25 years, the man known publicly as R. Kelly has sold 60 million albums, toured the globe repeatedly, and accumulated hundreds of millions of plays on radio and streaming services.”
The document then lists the horrifying accusations against R. Kelly, including:
He “married a girl under 18 years of age.”
He “was sued by at least four women for sexual misconduct, statutory rape, aggravated assault, unlawful restraint and furnishing illegal drugs to a minor.”
He “was indicted on 21 counts of child pornography.”
He “has faced allegations of sexual abuse and imprisonment of women under threats of violence and familial harm.”
Notice that Time’s Up is not really issuing any accusations, simply repeating provable facts such as indictments and allegations.
Time’s Up has more to say than just briefly touching upon the accusations against R. Kelly.
They are advocating a call to action.
And they list that they are encouraging people to apply pressure to the businesses that allow R. Kelly to continue his career.
That means Spotify, Apple Music, RCA Records, Ticketmaster.
It also means the Greensboro Coliseum Complex where his May 11 N.C. concert is scheduled to take place.
Their aim is to cancel this concert, and to end his career.
Sex monsters should face justice. At the very least, they should not be allowed to continue to rake in profits in front of adoring fans who turn a blind eye to allegations because they like somebody’s music.
Kelly’s management has responded to this call for justice, saying:
“R. 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.”
One might wonder why anyone who has heard the testimony of Kelly’s alleged victims would bother to interview women who are believed to be still under his control.
“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.”
Would you care to guess which defense Kelly’s team not-so-subtly employs?
“R. Kelly’s music is a part of American and African-American culture that should never –and will never — be silenced.”
Racism is real and systemic, but it is not behind this push — which, notably, was brought forward by women of color. Women of color not unlike Kelly’s accusers.
“Since America was born, black men and women have been lynched for having sex or for being accused of it.”
Sadly, this is true. It’s not relevant to this. The accusations against R. Kelly would put him more in line with people who forced enslaved black women to have sex.
“We will vigorously resist this attempted public lynching of a black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture.”
Calling this a “lynching” is shameful. And it would be even if these allegations were all false.