Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the last few weeks, I’m pretty sure you, along with everyone else, will have formed an opinion on the self-proclaimed king of R’n’B, R Kelly.
Love him or loathe him, there is no denying the man has a load of great banger’s under his belt. However if the #muterkelly campaign is successful it will become increasingly difficult to listen to his music.
There is a darkness that has followed R Kelly around for a long time. Rumours of improper behaviour and abuse abounded, but were never given a public platform. Until now.
A documentary entitled Surviving R Kelly was released last month, and I would encourage you to watch it. The film details decades of abuse from multiple accusers.
It becomes clear from the outset, that Kelly is physically drawn to underage girls and being in his line of work, it was very easy to obtain them. He used his celebrity status and an army of paid subordinates to help him fly underneath the radar. This way he was able to live out his fantasy lifestyle whilst in the glare of the public eye.
It seems as though #timesup for Kelly. On the back of the documentary, the FBI started investigating the claims and a further four accusers have come forward. They range in age from thirteen to sixteen years old.
A warrant was issued for his arrest and he turned himself in on Friday with bail set at $1m. As I type this he is still in jail, apparently having difficulties in raising the bail money. If found guilty, he faces a decade behind bars for each victim.
Growing up I listened to R Kelly, I was a big fan. His album 12 Play is still one of my all time favourites. It is therefore quite difficult for me, and millions of other fans, to separate the singer from the man being accused of such horrible crimes.
One thing we know for sure at this point, and it doesn’t bode well for Kelly, is that he married RnB singer Aaliyah when she was just 15 years old. This is undeniable, there is a marriage certificate to prove it.
Another problem for his defence will be the sex tape he appeared in. I remember when the tape came out. I watched it with some friends and we were all shocked and grossed out by Kelly, who urinated on the girl in the video. Of course, she was the victim here. Being abused on camera is horrific enough, but she was a child too. Only 14 years old.
My friends and I were all kids at the time, so didnt really think much about the fact she was underage but adults would obviously have seen this video too, so where was the reporting, the investigations, the court proceedings? If this happened today, people would be so outraged, Kelly would be in prison before his flow ended.
So, what has changed? Why now, but not then? In the documentary, ex-employees of the singer can be heard confessing to helping him procure young girls by slipping his phone number to them when visiting shopping malls. Even more disturbingly, they drove Kelly to the local high school to scout out his next victims.
I believe these conspirators are almost as guilty as Kelly himself. They knew what was going on, and they definitely helped by turning a blind eye all the time they were on the payroll. No longer working for Kelly, they seem to have suddenly and collectively gained consciences. How odd.
Anyway, I digress. My reason for blogging about this issue today is to discuss the #muterkelly movement. After watching the documentary and doing some online research of my own, I came to the same verdict as pretty much everybody else. Guilty on all charges.
There are just so many women with exactly the same story to tell. The facts tend to speak up for themselves. The marriage certificate and the 14 year old in the sex tape is enough to paint the portrait of a pedophile. So even without the tsunami of other victim evidence, Kelly is not going to be seeing freedom again. Nevermind muting RKelly, the prosecution could be muted for the entire trial and still win.
Surviving R Kelly goes into far more detail of course. Not only is he alleged to have sex with underage girls, he is said be physically, financially and emotionally abusive to women of all ages.
All of this is awful and I truly hope that he is finally brought to justice and pays for the crimes he has committed and the hurt he has caused.
Will this stop me listening to the music I grew up on? Many of his songs conjure up great memories from my youth and when listening to his songs, this is what I think about, not about the hideous things he is accused of. I guess I am one of those who can separate the music from the monster. If you can’t, then I totally understand why you would never listen to his music again. We don’t need a movement though do we? Surely we can all make up our own minds.
I am very interested to see what happens with his court case and with the movement. For now though, I think Ignition, Sex me and I am your angel will remain on my spotify playlist.
Gia Joy x