Chicago made singer-songwriter, R. Kelly ,has been popular in American R&B culture since the 1990s. In 2018 a documentary called “Surviving R. Kelly” began to air on Lifetime, which includes many of the women who have accused him of abuse, rape and other violence towards them.
After the documentary, Fast Company news site blames the media and law for ignoring this legal battle for decades. Not only has there been a large amount of evidence given about his actions toward women but there are also numerous victims speaking out about how he has treated them and the majority of them were underage.
Since the airing of the series, there has been investigations opened up in Georgia and Chicago for women to speak against him.
But the news never stopped putting R.Kelly’s relationship with women under the spotlight.
Tabloids claimed R&B singer Aaliyah had married him when she was 15 R. Kelly, 27 at the time, had produced her album, Age Nothing But a Number in 1994. At the time, she claimed she was 18, but her parents called foul marriage was annulled.
That was only the beginning of whispers of his cradle-robbing ways.
Because of the attention about Aaliyah, CNN, in 2000 Jim Derogatis and Abdon M. Pallasch published a report in the Chicago Sun-Times alleging Kelly had sexual relationships with girls under the age of 18. The article talked about singer Tiffany “Tia” Hawkins suing Kelly for $10 million, after they began a relationship in 1991 when she was 15, and he was 24. Kelly’s attorneys defended his innocence All the charges disappeared because of the girls not cooperating.Kelly’s argued these African American women were trying to sabotage his career as a successful African American man.
In March of 2002, copies of tapes showing R. Kelly having sexual relations with non consensual girls were being sold on the streets of Chicago. Later that year he was charged with child pornography on 21 counts. He was arrested but released on bail.
Although he has faced charges, he has never gotten a sentence for any allegations. USA Today reports he is facing multiple charges and his label, RCA Records has dropped his music from their company.
Dr. Katherine Giscombe stated “Because of stereotypes, combined with economic vulnerability, women of color have been more susceptible to sexual harassment and assault than White women. Catalyst research also shows that women of color are more vulnerable to not just biased treatment but are disadvantaged by their expectation of treatment that they will get.Kelly’s misconduct is only just a small fraction of abuse happening to African American women. According to Institute Women’s Policy Research, Black women experience higher rates of physical violence and psychological abuse from men than women of other races.
According to The New Yorker, one similar thing that R. Kelly has continued to do that Bill Cosby argued before he was arrested for sexual misconduct was the “lynching” of a successful black man.
Although lynching is apart of Black history, some use of the word as a way to have reasonable doubt and a way for them to blame these women on accusing him of false events.However in R. Kelly’s case, all of his accusers are African American just as he is. The women who have been fighting for justice aren’t being represented in a fair way against the famous singer.
While the media is becoming more educated on the topic of how African American women need more representation in sexual harassment cases, there is still much to do. The public has begun to talk about their opinions on this situation and brought more attention to him.According to Variety, his music views has risen to 100,000 more views after Spotify released that they were removing Kelly’s music off of their playlists.
An increase support for African American needs to be provided so more victims of sexual assault are given justice as well as these victims of R. Kelly.