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Surviving R. Kelly: Lifetime Docuseries Tells All

Will R Kelly survive the times?

R. Kelly sexual assault allegations are nothing new. In the wake of the Lifetime docuseries Surviving R. Kelly, let’s take a look at R. Kelly’s history of abuse and accusations. Let’s also discuss what it would take to put a stop to R. Kelly if that is even possible.

The public learned of his child predatory status in 1994 when the 27-year-old singer/songwriter married 15-year-old R&B singer Aaliyah. The marriage was later annulled by Aaliyah’s Family in 1995 and in 1997, the singer filed to have records of the marriage expunged. In the midst of Aaliyah filing to get records or her 1994 nuptials expunged, Tiffany Hawkins was seeking to use the marriage as evidence in her 1996 “personal injuries and emotional distress” suit against R. Kelly.

Fast forward to February 2002, a 27-minute sex tape surfaced. The tape allegedly featured R. Kelly and a 14-year-old girl. The tape was sold and put out to the masses. In June of 2002, Kelly was indicted on child pornography charges. Kelly wouldn’t see a court room until 2008. He was found not guilty on all charges. 

For years, people talked and joked about the R&B singers sexual assault allegations. Chappelle's Show even aired a skit of Dave Chappelle acting as R. Kelly singing a song titled “Piss on You." The skit was in reference to the 2002 sex tape that showed a male (alleged to be R. Kelly) urinating on an underage girl. Countless other singers, comedians, TV hosts, and more spoke of Kelly and the accusations against him.

In 2017, new allegations started to gain major buzz. Kelly was accused of having a sex cult and holding women hostage. Jocelyn Savage, one of the women who was alleged to be in the sex cult, denied all allegations. Not too soon after the sex cult allegations surfaced, Jerhonda Pace came forward alleging that she was in a relationship with Kelly whom she met during his 2008 child pornography trial (She was 15 at the time). In her interview on “The Real,” Pace stated she was groomed by Kelly and a “Trainer” who taught her how to have sex with Kelly. 

In a 2018 documentary, R. Kelly’s ex girlfriend Kitti Jones also alleged that Kelly was grooming underaged girls. The #MuteRKelly social media campaign was launched in an effort to stop people from supporting the singer. In an act of solidarity, Spotify removed all of the singers music. In the same year, Kelly was also sued for allegedly purposely infecting his ex, Faith Rogers.

The year is now 2019 and the accusations and stories of abuse at the hands of R. Kelly are still coming! Lifetime has been airing a six part docuseries entitled Surviving R. Kelly. The world is getting in-depth stories from alleged victims, past friends, family, and coworkers of R. Kelly, but the masses still aren’t taking this seriously. Some people are ranting in protest of the R&B singer while others are denying the allegations and some are even joking about the docuseries.

Even after the lengthy record of allegations and the very real marriage certificate, R. Kelly still prospers. He still has a large following and is even still being hailed as the King of R&B. What will it take to #MuteRKelly for good? 

Here’s what needs to happen.

People need to hold R. Kelly accountable for his actions. R. Kelly being held accountable looks like: him facing some sort of criminal charges, his sales declining, mainstream platforms refusing to play his music, arenas refusing to let him hold shows, and finally, the general population canceling him. That means no more “King of R&B” title for him, no more greatest to ever do it title for him. We MUST throw out the art with the man. There’s an ongoing debate about the man verses the artist, but given that most of his music is of a sexual nature and he’s being accused of sexual abuse it’s safe to say that they cannot be separated. We must end R. Kelly if he’s not willing to step down and take responsibility for his actions. 

Here’s what I think will actually happen:

After this docuseries, people will continue to drag R. Kelly for a few weeks and then we won’t hear anymore about him until the next accusation occurs. His fan base, which is primarily made up of middle aged black women, will continue to support his career while putting down his victims. These women are from a time when sexual abuse was blamed on the fastness of little girls, and women were accused of trying to break up families with accusations. They were brought up in a time where misogyny prevailed and men weren’t held accountable for their toxic behaviors, so of course they won’t stop supporting him. 

Until we address the deep rooted misogyny, toxic masculinity, and rape culture within the black community we won’t be able to successfully eliminate people like R. Kelly. For years his behavior was supported, enabled, and hidden by other ADULTS. R. Kelly is not the only criminal here. We need to hold enablers accountable as well. There’s a lot of work to be done within the community before we can effectively eliminate people like this.

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