Stop telling yourself that music transcends allegations. Buying & Streaming R. Kelly music is supporting his behavior.

 

Last night tweeter Anika Tellis tweeted John Legend a photo of him, his wife Chrissy Teigen and Harvey Weinstein saying, “@johnledgend please explain?? I dont [sic] remember you publicly denouncing this man!!!” Legend responded, “I took a photo with an worked with Harvey on several occasions before his being exposed, his company and career have rightfully been destroyed, and he’s been indicted. Sounds like something that should happen to R Kelly.”

John Legend is right. It is time to end and destroy R Kelly’s career. However, since the premiere of the Lifetime docu-series “Surviving R. Kelly,” R. Kelly’s sales and music streams have increased. Don’t his accusers deserve better? Don’t we all deserve better?

Yesterday, Jada Pinkett Smith released an Instagram video where she asks, “How is it that R Kelly’s music sales have spiked (substantially since the release of the docuseries Surviving R Kelly? I need some help in understanding? What am I missing???” Mrs. Smith, who was Tupac’s best friends, wife of Will Smith and the mother of Jaden and Willow Smith understands the music industry better than most and still is, rightfully taken aback.

 

Jada Pickett Smith is not alone. How could she be? Kelly has long dodged allegations of sexually, mentally, and physically abusing dozens of women many who were underaged. Over and over again I have heard people say, well “music is different.” They claim that music transcends any allegation or wrongdoing.

Over the years I have found myself in many debates on this topic. Every time a Michael Jackson song comes on I cannot help but think about his sexual assault allegations that we all have collectively agreed to pretend it never happened. It’s not just R. Kelly and Michael Jackson. The folks at All That’s Interesting put together a list of “24 musicians Whose Legacies Could Face A #MeToo Reckoning.” Many included allegedly had sex with underage girls.

I for one am sick and tired of the “music transcends any sexual assault allegations” argument.

For most of R. Kelly’s career, he has had to pay for lawyers and publicists who have helped him navigate every allegation. That includes every incident where he allegedly slept with an underage girl or… peed on them. It is because of his album sales and that people continue to buy and stream his music that he can pay for people who get him out jail so he can pray on more and more young girls. So yes, buying his music is supporting his behavior. And by supporting his behavior, you are saying the young women he assaults don’t matter. You are saying their lives aren’t as important as your musical enjoyment.

In June I attended my cousin’s wedding. He and his now wife, had a pretty dope, live band. Each member was black. And at one point they performed an R. Kelly song. I decided to leave the dance floor. At the end of the wedding, I asked the band why they are still performing R. Kelly. The women immediately said, “I know, we need to stop, I’ve been telling them this.”

Listen to women. Believe women. Stop playing, purchasing and streaming R. Kelly Music. As John Legend said, it’s time to destroy this monster’s career, for the sake of every little girl.