For the first time since advocating for the prosecution of Harvey Weinstein, the Time’s Up collective has singled out an alleged abuser: R&B star Robert Kelly.
Women of Color of Time’s Up, a subcommittee of the larger group specifically organizing around issues that affect women and girls of color, released a statement this morning announcing their support of #MuteRKelly, an online campaign asking Live Nation and Sony Music to cancel R. Kelly’s tour dates and drop his recording contract.
Women of Color of Time’s Up, which includes Ava DuVernay, Shonda Rimes, and Jurnee Smollett-Bell, are also asking other “corporations and venues,” including Kelly’s record label RCA Records, to cut ties with the singer.
Over the course of nearly two decades, Kelly has been accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct, statutory rape, aggravated assault, and harassment. Journalist Jim DeRogatis at the Chicago Sun-Times first broke the story in 2000 that Kelly had been accused of statutory rape with girls as young as 15.
Allegations against Kelly continued to surface, including a bombshell interview with DeRogatis in the Village Voice in 2013, but despite multiple lawsuits against him, the singer’s career remained relatively stable. Last summer, DeRogatis published yet another report in BuzzFeed that Kelly was holding very young women against their will in a “cult,” deciding things like what they wore and when they went to the bathroom.
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 #WOC pic.twitter.com/TYmDRVIH00
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) April 30, 2018
Although sexual assault convictions are difficult to come by in general — Bill Cosby was found guilty of sexual assault last week after decades of inaction and accusations from 60 people — R. Kelly’s alleged victims are overwhelmingly young black women and girls, who have seen little, if any, support from the institutions meant to protect them. In that 2013 Village Voice interview, DeRogatis said, “The saddest fact I’ve learned is nobody matters less to our society than young black women. Nobody.”
The statement from the Women of Color of Time’s Up asks readers to “insist on a world in which women of all kinds can pursue their dreams free from sexual assault, abuse and predatory behavior.
“As Women of Color within Time’s Up, we recognize that we have a responsibility to help right this wrong. 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.”
You can read the full letter at The Root.
Source: The Verge