The Time’s Up Movement has now turned its eye on noted predator R. Kelly, pledging its support for the #MuteRKelly campaign.
Led by the Women of Colour Time’s Up, a subcommittee of Time’s Up which counts , the organisation has issued an open letter calling on companies associated with R. Kelly to cut ties with the known alleged abuser.
“For too long, our community has ignored our pain. The pain we bear is a burden that too many women of colour have had to bear for centuries. The wounds run deep,” the letter reads.
“As women of colour within Time’s Up, we recognise 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 behaviour.”
It’s calling on the companies that have allowed R. Kelly to remain profitable even as abuse allegations are laid upon him – including Ticketmaster, Spotify, Apple Music, and his music label RCA Records, as well as the North Carolina venue hosting his next concert – to severe ties with the artist and “to join us and insist on safety and dignity for women of all kinds.”
It’s also demanding that R. Kelly’s decades-long alleged misconduct be investigated.
The letter specifically cites his annulled marriage to the late singer Aaliyah when she was 15-years-old, the multiple lawsuits by at least four women for “sexual misconduct, statutory rape, aggravated assault, unlawful restraint and furnishing illegal drugs to a minor”, his indictment on 21 counts of child pornography, and the ongoing allegations of sexual abuse and imprisonment of women.
“The scars of history make certain that we are not interested in persecuting anyone without just cause,” the letter continues. “With that said, we demand appropriate investigations and inquiries into the allegations of R. Kelly’s abuse made by women of colour and their families for over two decades now. And we declare with great vigilance and a united voice to anyone who wants to silence us: Their time is up.”
The Time’s Up movement is specifically calling out the industry and the public’s willingness to overlook this accusations to support the artist, noting that over the past 25 years, he has still sold 60 million albums, toured the globe multiple times, and financially benefitted to the tune of millions by his music being played on radio and streaming services.
People lending their support to #MuteRKelly include Tarana Burke, Ava DuVernay, Lupita Nyong’o, Stephanie Beatriz, Amber Tamblyn, John Legend and April Reign.
All, all, all in together girls…🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾
It’s going DOWN!! #muterkelly once and for all! https://t.co/uJKX0yoQyf
— Tarana (@TaranaBurke) April 30, 2018
I stand with the women of #timesup#muterkelly. https://t.co/B0yaRj7zdZ
— John Legend (@johnlegend) April 30, 2018
In response, R. Kelly has slammed the statement as an “attempted public lynching”, and derided the campaign as a false attempt to draw attention to the “pro-women goals” of the Time’s Up movement.
“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,” the statement reads.
“R. Kelly’s music is a part of American and African-American culture that should never–and will never–be silenced. Since America was born, black men and women have been lynched for having sex or for being accused of it. We will vigorously resist this attempted public lynching of a black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture.”