After years of continued radio play and publicity in spite troubling sexual misconduct allegations, R. Kelly is finally being called out in a big way.
While many Black women activists have pushed for radio stations, record companies, and fans to ditch the R&B singer for years, the #MuteRKelly campaign, which was started by Kenyette Barnes and Oronike Odeleye in 2017, has gotten a boost from some of Hollywood’s most powerful women.
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay, who is a prominent member of the #TimesUp campaign, called on corporations and music lovers to cut ties with the singer.
“We join the call to #MuteRKelly and insist on the safety + dignity of all women,” DuVernay wrote on Twitter. “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”
DuVernay isn’t alone. Shonda Rhimes, Jurnee Smollett, Alyssa Milano, Constance Wu, and a host of others tweeted their support for the movement.
BET late night host Robin Thede did not mince any words about why she hopes others will join the call to oust R. Kelly.
“R. Creepy has to GO,” she tweeted. “I’m not here for the discussions about ‘separating the man from his music.’ I refuse to separate a man from his serial abuse of black women. BLACK WOMEN AND GIRLS ARE VALUABLE.”
Fellow musician, John Legend, also showed his support for the #MuteRKelly movement.
The Women of Color of Time’s Up issued a statement explaining why they joined in the fight to #MuteRKelly.
For too long, our community has ignored our pain. The pain we bear is a burden that too many women of color have had to bear for centuries. The wounds run deep.
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.
The recent court decision against Bill Cosby is one step toward addressing these ills, but it is just a start. 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.
To this end, today we join an existing online campaign called #MuteRKelly.
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 statement called on Ticketmaster, RCA Records, streaming services, and concert venues to cut ties with the singer. It also demanded Kelly to be investigated.
“The scars of history make certain that we are not interested in persecuting anyone without just cause,” the group wrote. “With that said, we demand appropriate investigations and inquiries into the allegations of R. Kelly’s abuse made by women of color and their families for over two decades now.”