Surviving R. Kelly Succeeds Where Social Activists Couldn’t
Controversial R&B singer R. Kelly has been all over the news lately. Lifetime’s recent six-part docuseries Surviving R. Kelly put the platinum-selling crooner’s dirty laundry on front street. And for the first time in decades, it looks like his career is in jeopardy.
Throughout Kelly’s 30-years in the music business, drama and strife have slid off him as though he were made of teflon. A controversial marriage to his 15-year-old protégé Aaliyah and even a pee tape failed to derail his career. Instead, these “missteps” lived on in pop culture, adding to the eccentric singer’s mystique. The radio keeps playing his music, people keep buying his albums, and Sony Music keeps Kelly gainfully employed. However, allegations of Kelly’s sexual misconduct are worse than most people realize and the #MuteRKelly movement has struggled to make the public aware of the severity of his alleged crimes.
Variety is reporting, “Sony Music has decided to dissolve its working relationship with R. Kelly.” There hasn’t been an official announcement yet because Sony is taking steps to protect themselves from legal repercussions. Variety also notes, “R. Kelly was removed from the RCA Records website, which lists the label’s signed artists, shortly after 10 a.m. PT on Friday, Jan. 18.”
After launching his career in the early ‘90s, R. Kelly went on to become one the most important artists in the entire recording industry. A top-selling artist in his own right, he wrote and produced songs for other major acts, and shaped the sound of R&B music. Stories about Kelly’s illicit sexual behaviour followed him throughout his career, but the allegations and criminal charges never seemed stick.
That all changed in the last few weeks after Lifetime ran their Surviving R. Kelly series. The program gave “R. Kelly survivors” and their families a platform to share stories about the pain he inflicted on them. The stories include being courted while underage, physical abuse, brainwashing and being held hostage. Kelly maintains his innocence and has threatened legal action against those speaking out against him.