R. Kelly's Team Responds to Time's Up's #MuteRKelly Campaign
By Antoinette Bueno
Time's Up is officially calling out those supporting R. Kelly.
On Monday, the Women of Color of Time’s Up -- a subcommittee of the larger group focused on issues that affect women and girls of color -- called out corporations and venues with ties with the R&B singer. Time's Up said they would be joining the existing online campaign called #MuteRKelly, which was started last year in response to decades of sexual assault allegations facing the musician, which Kelly has previously vehemently denied.
"To Our Fellow Women of Color: We see you. We hear you. Because we are you," the statement begins. "For too long, our community has ignored our pain. The pain we bear is a burden that too many women of color have had to bear for centuries. The wounds run deep."
"As women of color within Time’s Up, we recognize that we have a responsibility to help right this wrong," the statement continues. "We intend to shine a bright light on our WOC sisters in need. It is our hope that we will never feel ignored or silenced ever again. The recent court decision against Bill Cosby is one step toward addressing these ills, but it is just a start. We call on people everywhere to join with us to insist on a world in which women of all kinds can pursue their dreams free from sexual assault, abuse and predatory behavior."
The statement then called out corporations with ties to Kelly, including RCA Records, Ticketmaster, Spotify and Apply Music. Time’s Up is also asking for an upcoming R. Kelly concert on May 11 at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex to be canceled.
"The scars of history make certain that we are not interested in persecuting anyone without just cause, the statement concludes. "With that said, we demand appropriate investigations and inquiries into the allegations of R. Kelly’s abuse made by women of color and their families for over two decades now. And we declare with great vigilance and a united voice to anyone who wants to silence us: Their time is up. Together, We Are Strong."
A number of celebrities have shown their support for the movement, including Ava DuVernay, Shonda Rhimes, John Legend and Questlove.
We join the call to #MuteRKelly and insist on the safety + dignity of all women. We demand investigations into R. Kelly’s abuse allegations made by women of color + their families for two decades. We call on those who profit from his music to cut ties. #MuteRKelly#TIMESUP#WOCpic.twitter.com/TYmDRVIH00
We join the call to #MuteRKelly and insist on the safety + dignity of all women. We demand investigations into R. Kelly’s abuse allegations made by women of color + their families for two decades. We call on those who profit from his music to cut ties. #MuteRKelly#TIMESUP#WOChttps://t.co/RTco2ZeetZ
Kelly's management responded in a statement on Monday, and called the criticism on the 51-year-old singer "unjust and off-target."
"R. Kelly supports the pro-women goals of the Time’s Up movement," the statement reads. "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," the statement continues. "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."
"Mr. Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed at the recent revelations attributed to him," the statement read. "Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies such allegations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name."
In 2003, R. Kelly was arrested on charges of sexual misconduct with a minor after a videotape was leaked that allegedly showed him engaging in sex with, and urinating on, an underage girl. In March 2004, those charges were dropped due to a lack of probable cause for the search warrants.
In 2016, Kelly also addressed his controversial relationship with the late Aaliyah in an interview with GQ. In the mid-'90s, Vibe magazine published what appeared to be the marriage certificate between a then 15-year-old Aaliyah -- his protegee at the time -- and 27-year-old Kelly. The document falsely stated she was 18. Their marriage was reportedly annulled months later.