Time's Up Movement targets R Kelly after Cosby trial

The Time’s Up Movement has pledged support for the #MuteRKelly campaign after sexual misconduct accusations, some decades-old, against the RnB star.

The decision, led by the Women of Colour (WOC) group, includes director Ava Duvernay and singer Janelle Monae.

Labels, businesses and music venues promoting Kelly are to be targeted. He denies all the allegations.

A statement urged women to dream “free from sexual assault, abuse and predatory behaviour”.

“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,” it reads.

It cites the guilty verdict handed to Bill Cosby in his sexual assault retrial as a catalyst.

Kelly, who has sold over 60 million records worldwide, denies all accusations against him, including allegations last year that he is holding several young women in an “abusive cult”.

In response, the singer’s lawyer told the BBC that Kelly would work “diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name”.

The renewed focus on Kelly follows a recent BBC Three documentary, R Kelly: Sex, Girls and Videotapes, which sees filmmaker Ben Zand try to break down the alleged “wall of silence” around historic sexual abuse allegations involving Kelly.

He interviews R Kelly’s former girlfriend, Kitti Jones, who tells him about the alleged abuse she suffered while dating the singer from 2011 to 2013.

The WOC statement demands specific action against RCA, Kelly’s label, as well as four other entities with current business ties to Kelly: Spotify, Apple Music, Ticketmaster and Greensboro Coliseum Complex.

The 11 May show in Greensboro, North Carolina, is one of the stops on the singer’s Memory Lane tour that began last November.

Protesters previously picketed outside Kelly’s show at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit in February.

Momentum shift

The movement builds on the #MuteRKelly Care2 online petition, launched last July by Atlanta-based music executive Orinike Odeleye, which currently has 65,234 supporters toward its goal of 70,000.

Following the announcement, singer John Legend lent his support to the initiative on social media.

His public stance continues an apparent shift within the music industry against the 51-year-old in recent months.

In March, artist and producer Jack Antonoff, also signed to RCA, revealed he had asked his label to drop R. Kelly multiple times, while earlier this month, Vince Staples openly called Kelly a “child molester” during an interview at Coachella.


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