Sony Music finally decided to cut its ties with American R & B artist R. Kelly, according to sources of Billboard and Variety.
Entertainment website Variety said that according to their source, Sony will not make any announcement about the move any time soon. The company is “responsibly” sorting with the issues to avoid any legal ramifications.
But the website of Sony’s RCA label has already dropped R. Kelly (age 52) from their list of artists since Friday, January 18, 2019.
R. Kelly is the subject of the six-part Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly”, which details the s*xual allegations against him. Its premier episode is Lifetime’s highest rated program in 2 years, getting 2.1 million total viewers during its airing.
Cases and allegations against R. Kelly
Allegations against R. Kelly have been around for more than 10 years. He has been accused of having s*x with underage girls and was indicted in Chicago on 21 counts of child p*rn*graphy in 2002. [ref: wikipedia]
Prior to that, R. Kelly was embroiled in an illegal marriage with the late singer Aaliyah (Aaliyah died in a plane crash in August 25, 2001).
Several publications reported that then 27-year-old Kelly married Aaliyah illegally when she was just 15 years old. That marriage was quickly dissolved at the request of Aaliyah’s family.
In 2008 R. Kelly was acquitted of child p*rn*graphy charges, when the victim refused to testify.
But accusations of R. Kelly’s s*xual misconduct have resurfaced.
In 2017, three sets of parents accused R. Kelly of holding their daughters captive in an “abusive cult”. This matter was reported on BuzzFeed by Jim DeRogatis, providing the impetus for the #MuteRKelly movement, a grass-roots campaign launched by Kenyette Tisha Barnes and Oronike Odeleye, which calls for boycotting R. Kelly’s music .
Turning a Blind Eye
The music industry has been accused of turning a blind eye to R. Kelly’s s*xually abusive behavior toward young women for so many years. Mostly because R. Kelly is one of the most successful R&B artists in the past 25 years, selling over 30 million albums in the US.
In May 2018, The Washington Post alleged that music industry executives at Jive Records, Epic Records, and Sony’s RCA Records did little or nothing about R. Kelley’s s*xual misconduct due to his success as a performer and songwriter.
#MeToo and #MuteRKelly
But since the #MeToo movement and the airing of “Surviving R. Kelly” docuseries, the pressure on labels and music platforms to ban R. Kelly has increased, leading Sony’s subsidiary RCA Records, to finally dissolve their working relationship with the singer.
Prior to Sony’s move against R. Kelly, several artists who have collaborated with him, including Lady Gaga, Chance the Rapper, and Phoenix, apologized for working with him.
Lady Gaga has removed her collaboration with R. Kelly from the streaming services and several musicians are reportedly planning to do the same.
In addition, some radio stations are not playing R. Kelly’s music anymore. The state of Illinois denied a permit for a concert which R. Kelly was supposed to host.
Meanwhile, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office in Georgia has opened a criminal investigation into the allegations made on the documentary “Surviving R. Kelly”.
Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx are also now reviewing calls that her office has received after she asked the public to come forward with information about the potential victims of R. Kelly.
The backlash against R. Kelly continues, strengthening the #MuteRKelly movement.
In a statement posted on The Washington Post, #MuteRKelly co-founder Oronike Odeleye said:
We will not stop until the community at large has completely divested itself from R Kelly, and he can no longer use his wealth to insulate himself from the consequences of his crimes.
R Kelly’s reaction to Sony dropping him
Music publication Rolling Stone got the side of R. Kelly through Don Russell, his current advisor and consultant.
Asked if R. Kelly will take legal action against Sony, Russell said, “Our goal is not to go after anybody because he wants everybody to be happy.”
Russell claimed that several record labels are “very interested” in working with the controversial singer. Rolling Stone noted that they were unable to independently verify his claim.
Surviving R. Kelly documentary ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ (January 3, 2019) starring Andrea Kelly, Tarana Burke, Sparkle.
Lady Gaga apologizes for collaborating with R. Kelly After facing pressure to speak up, Lady Gaga apologizes for collaborating with R. Kelly.