R. Kelly has taken aim at the Time’s Up movement’s call for a boycott of his music, describing the effort against him as an “attempted public lynching of a black man.”
In a provocative statement issued on Monday, April 30, the Grammy-winning singer offered both criticism and praise of Time’s Up.
“R. Kelly supports the pro-women goals of the Time’s Up movement,” the singer’s management team said in a statement issued to Rolling Stone. “We understand criticizing a famous artist is a good way to draw attention to those goals—and in this case, it is unjust and off-target.”
The response came after the organization’s Women of Color committee announced Monday morning that it plans to support the online #MuteRKelly campaign against the singer-songwriter following a string of sexual abuse allegations.
Time’s Up was created earlier this year to combat sexual assault and harassment. The organization’s Women of Color committee includes Oscar-nominated director Ava DuVernay and TV mogul Shonda Rhimes.
The Time’s Up open letter supporting the “Mute R. Kelly” campaign – which started last year – “demands appropriate investigations and inquiries into the allegations of R. Kelly’s abuse made by women and their families for more than two decades.”
The letter urges the Trapped in the Closet singer’s music label, RCA Records, Spotify and Apple Music to stop selling his records, and calls on Ticketmaster, which is selling tickets for his upcoming show at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex, to join boycott.
In a 2017 story, BuzzFeed News alleged that Kelly was holding women in homes in Chicago and Atlanta against their will in a sex “cult.”
“He controls every aspect of their lives: dictating what they eat, how they dress, when they bathe, when they sleep, and how they engage in sexual encounters that he records,” the report stated.
Since then, a former partner claimed that Kelly, 51, “intentionally” infected her with a sexually transmitted disease.
Kelly, one of the most successful artists in R&B music, has denied the allegations against him.
In 2003, he was found not guilty of child pornography charges.
You can read R. Kelly’s full statement below.
R. Kelly supports the pro-women goals of the Time’s Up movement. We understand criticizing a famous artist is a good way to draw attention to those goals – and in this case, it is unjust and off-target.
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.
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.