Public Enemy co-founder Chuck D is fighting the power of angry fans after he sparked backlash with comments asking if R. Kelly will be given a chance at redemption.
Chuck D shared his thoughts Tuesday on Twitter, following the “Bump N’ Grind” singer’s conviction a day earlier on eight counts of sex trafficking and one count of racketeering.
Related Story: R. Kelly Guilty on Multiple Counts in Sex Trafficking Case
The rapper compared the R. Kelly case to the convictions of Rick James and Ike Turner, while also questioning whether the U.S. criminal justice system will lock Kelly away forever or give him a chance to “change his world.”
“Abused in his youth… an addict as an adult… Ike Turner served 18 months in prison.. Rick James did similar time. Ike came out a changed positive human being. How long should R Kelly spend in prison — and does a USA system give a man a chance for a man to change his world around?” Chuck D tweeted.
Abused in his youth… an addict as a adult… Ike Turner served 18 months in prison.. Rick James did similar time. Ike came out a changed positive human being. How long should R Kelly spend in prison -and does a USA system give a man a chance for a man to change his world around?
— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) September 28, 2021
Related Story: 9 Shocking Revelations in ‘Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning‘
The comments flooded in and many Twitter users were not happy.
“Asking this sincerely my brotha, what made you feel this was necessary to tweet out given all that we know about Robert’s disgusting crimes and his lack of remorse?” New York sports reporter Chris Williamson replied.
“Not you being an apologist for a serial rapist and predator. His a– needs to be under the jail!” Twitter user @lorigspeaks responded.
“R. Kelly married an underage girl in 1995 when he was a 27-year-old man,” wrote Twitter user @Alex_Washington. “His pattern continued and worsened and you want us to give him a chance for change?”
“This narrative is so old and raggedy and is actually hurtful. I have yet to see any Black man of wealth or power say they believe the victims. WHYYY,” responded Twitter user @ajanet53.
Hours later Chuck D clarified his statement with a follow-up tweet. “JUST TO BE CLEAR, I’m not the R Kelly fan here. 75 million sold somewhere & I ain’t got 1 of his songs. And his actions were criminal, my apologies if the wings of perception loomed beyond than the words on this slaveApp.”
During R. Kelly’s federal trial in Brooklyn, prosecutors alleged he used close associates to help him meet girls at tour stops and in restaurants. Several accusers testified in the case, including Jerhonda Pace, who said she had a sexual relationship with the singer when he was 42 and she was 16 years old.
Pace also appeared in Lifetime’s 2019 docuseries Surviving R. Kelly and Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning.
The two series addressed claims that the R&B singer had sex with underage girls, and obtained fraudulent paperwork to marry R&B singer Aaliyah when she was 15 years old. Yet the superstar singer repeatedly denied the claims.
Kelly’s brothers, Bruce Kelly (who was interviewed in jail) and Carey Kelly, also appeared in the series and offered details of widespread sexual abuse during their childhood years. They said R. Kelly was abused by an elderly male neighbor when he was between the ages of 6 and 14.