For most Black families, R. Kelly is a mogul in R&B! He has birthed us with unforgettable hits like, “Your Body’s Callin”, “Ignition”, “I Believe I can Fly” ,”Trapped in the closet”, and “Step in the Name of Love”.
Self proclaimed Pied Piper of R&B has remained one of the biggest household names to date despite several allegations of sexual misconduct. However in the era of the #MeToo movement, it is being demanded that we #MuteRKelly.
Kelly has been an untouchable name, but this campaign was created with the hopes to bring awareness to R.Kelly’s decades of inappropriate sexual behavior towards young Black women and to silence his music.
Kenyette Tisha Barnes, national organizer/co-founder and Oronike Odeleye, co-founder of the #MuteRKelly movement believed that stopping his music from being aired on the radio would be the first step in finally getting Kelly to pay for his actions.
They started an online petition, which gained support from several organizations and public figures who began outwardly speaking against Kelly.
The movement received support from WOC – the women of color of the Time’s Up movement, Shonda Rhimes, Ava DuVernay, John Legend, Tiffany Haddish, Kerry Washington, Charlamagne the God, Vince Staples, and Tarana Burke, just to name a few. These individuals have used their voices and platforms to call action from others around the world.
Spotify joined the movement and announced that R. Kelly’s music will be removed from their promoted playlists, as part of their new policy on “hate content and hateful conduct”. Soon after, Apple music followed suit and removed Kelly from curated playlists.
Kelly’s concerts have began to be protested and select shows have been cancelled across the world, which has not left R. Kelly or his team very happy.
However, since the movement began and the streaming services have made their announcements, Kelly’s streaming numbers have increased and R. Kelly and his team has spoken out.
In their statement they have emphasized the impact of his music, neglected to remedy beliefs regarding his character, and refrained from denying allegations. It was stated that “Kelly’s music is a part of African and African-American culture that should never – and will never – be silenced”. The #MuteRKelly movement was summed up as a “public lynching of a Black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture”.
In a new video that quickly surfaced across the internet, R. Kelly is giving a toast in which he arrogantly says, “It’s too late, they should have did this sh** 30 years ago”….”It’s too late, the music has been injected into the world”.
The statement released by Kelly’s team and himself seems to believe that his music eliminates him from facing any consequences for his actions. Most people believe his toast to be some sort of confession. If so, it is in his narcissistic opinion that his music is SOOOO good that he can just get away with the sexual assault and misconduct of young women.
THIS IS EXACTLY WHY HIS MUSIC MUST BE STOPPED!
However, due to the inflation of his music streams since the news… it makes it hard to believe that others are taking this matter as seriously as we should be.
Is “Step in the Name of Love” that good we can’t get rid of it? I’m sure there is some other song we can play at the family cookout. But some believe that R. Kelly’s personal life has nothing to do with his music and that his personal relations should not influence or take away from his greatness as a musician.
At some point, I used to believe this exact thing. Now I know that supporting these artists monetarily despite awareness of their harmful behavior directly supports their actions.
What seems to be most heartbreaking is the unbelievable LOUD statement that is being made. The extreme lack of care shines light on a bigger issue in our community – the erasure of Black womanhood and our inaccurate perceptions of sexual assault and/or misconduct – especially at the hands of a “musical genius”.
Historically, we know that Blacks are at the “bottom” of the hierarchy. We also know that women are at the bottom. So to be BLACK and a WOMAN is a double edged sword. But…what we also know is that Black women are the most sexualized.
Several women have come forward with statements regarding Kelly’s misogynistic, sexual, and male dominant advances and behavior. Documentaries like Sex, Girls, & Videotapes have been aired with real interviews from ex-girlfriends, victims, friends, family, and associates of R. Kelly confirming his history of liking and preying on young girls, along with interview clips of Kelly evading questions concerning his lust after teenage girls. There has also been physical tapes displaying his misconduct.
So, CLEARLY there is evidence.
Therefore, I’m having a hard time understanding why nothing has been done. But, most people have placed the blame on the parents, victims, or the women themselves in R. Kelly’s alleged “cult” because they went “willingly”. Again, the over-sexualization of Black women falsely provides the depiction that because these women wanted more or deserved what he offered!
This displacement of blame supports Kelly’s actions and his claims that his music is too good to be stopped. And it intentionally negates the fact that the entirety of his career has mirrored his personal behaviors with lyrics like “my mind is telling me no, but my body is telling me yes” and his self-proclamation of being Mr. “Pied Piper of R&B”.
The Pied Piper is a character from a legend from Hamelin that uses his magic pipe and the instrument’s magical powers to lead children away.
Bill Cosby had several victims of sexual assault come forward with allegations against him like Kelly. AND In this past month, he has been found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and sexual assault…labeling him as the first criminal conviction of a celebrity since the rise of the #MeToo movement. But let’s be honest, a large amount of the women who came out against Cosby were WHITE WOMEN.
IS THIS THE DIFFERENCE? I HOPE NOT!
But I can’t help but to think about the several Black women who have gone missing and stories remain untold because we did not care enough! Justice remains unserved! So, for these women….please STAND UP and ACT!
By supporting R. Kelly’s music, you are directly condoning his behavior. You are enabling and supporting his actions by continuously supporting his music and providing him with money to keep up his lifestyle. Our continuous disregard for his personal life and undying support of his music career because of his “genius” gives him the RIGHT to be arrogant & act as if he is invincible.
So pick another song to play at the cookout. Take the music off your playlist. Change the radio station when the song plays. Whatever you do STOP placing the value of a song over the value of body!