R. Kelly Hosts Massive Party Despite Viral Doc. Accusing Him of Pedophilia

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Cheering crowds greeted R. Kelly at a Chicago club where the singer celebrated his birthday Wednesday night with a partial rendition of his song “Bump N Grind.” That sentence shouldn’t be able to apply to a party scene in 2019, but somehow hundreds of people are still willing to publicly support the accused pedophile and abuser. This is not only shown with his birthday bash — but also his streams have increased one hundred and sixteen percent since the Lifetime premiere of Surviving R. Kelly on January 3 and fans appeared in droves to celebrate the life and times of a child rapist.

Kelly was gassed up by his fans as he declared, “I don’t give a f*ck about what’s going on!” early Thursday morning at V75 Chicago, and I’m tired of listening to people defend the musical ‘genius’ of a man whose songs are all probably about pre-pubescent teens. There is absolutely something wrong with a little bump n grind if it’s with a child who is too young to consent to sexual activity. I’m also tired of people acting like this is news somehow. R. Kelly produced Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number for Aaliyah when she was fourteen and married her when she was fifteen, the entire city of Chicago apparently knew Kelly was creeping at local high schools in the 1990s, and in 2017, Buzzfeed released a detailed report on Kelly’s alleged abusive “sex cult” based on coverage by Jim DeRogatis, who has reported on allegations against R. Kelly for two decades. That’s two decades of persistent accusations of pedophilia and abuse, including one case that was brought to trial, overlooked, and silenced. And for what? So that people can listen to “Ignition (Remix)” at parties and ignore that R. Kelly’s key is going into the ignition of a fourteen-year-old?

It shouldn’t have taken a Lifetime series for people to finally realize that R. Kelly is human garbage, but the issue isn’t that people didn’t know he was Herbert the Pervert in sunglasses and diamond studs. Today, Beyoncé‘s father and former manager Matthew Knowles said that he actively kept Destiny’s Child away from Kelly after hearing rumors about Kelly’s “reputation,” a sentiment echoed by Jojo‘s momager in the early 2000s. When Vince Staples called R. Kelly a “piece of f*cking sh*t … child molester … having a human trafficking ring” at Coachella 2018, the interviewer from Complex tried to divert the conversation not because she said she disagreed but because she was worried Vince’s comments would get her fired. “We can’t ever talk about this guy,” the interviewer commented, illustrating perfectly the culture of silence surrounding Kelly’s fame and, in particular, what the video of him engaging in sexual acts with a minor really means about his character. It’s not that it hasn’t been known, it’s that no one with any power to do something about it will take action so long as Kelly continues being a lucrative performer and producer.

It would also be circumspect to bring up the issue of the continued support of R. Kelly without speaking towards the race element at play. This aspect of R. Kelly’s baffling and upsetting popularity isn’t one that I am really qualified to speak on as a white woman, but Chance The Rapper‘s comments outside of the Lifetime documentary rightfully emphasize that there is an indoctrinated, subconscious discrediting of black women and their stories at the heart of Kelly’s ability to continue preying on women and children, specifically the black women and children that he targets.

In the documentary, one juror from Kelly’s Chicago child pornography trial freely admitted that he voted to acquit Kelly because he didn’t like the way the young black women who testified against Kelly acted and dressed. Missing black girls are rarely reported on in the media because of “Missing White Girl Syndrome,” or the pattern of media outlets choosing stories that they believe their watchers will find most relatable, namely the stories of white girls and only white girls. And a Vox columnist noted that calling out a black man, who is statistically more likely to be set up by a corrupt system, can be seen as an act of racial treason, even when it is done rightfully and with the intention to support the women he has abused.

Only a few hours after R. Kelly triumphantly partied at V75 Chicago, Lady Gaga announced that she would be removing her 2013 collaboration with Kelly “Do What U Want (With My Body)” from all streaming services and apologized for ever working with the rapper. The reaction? “Do What U Want” has reappeared in the US and UK iTunes Top Songs charts. R. Kelly remains a threat to women and teenage girls even in the midst of the renewed acknowledgment of his crimes. Until he’s convicted and public consensus no longer stands in his favor, as it changed for Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein before him, we’re all complicit in allowing R. Kelly to continue his abuse of power.

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