The question of if R. Kelly's career will continue, despite the allegations of sexual misconduct going back decades, has garnered the attention of the leaders of the #MeToo movement. As The Wrap reports, allegations of his acts, including abusing and engaging in sex with minors, go back as far as 1994. Although R. Kelly was acquitted of child pornography charges in the early 2000s, abuse allegations against the singer continue to mount. Despite this, his career as a singer flourishes, thanks to his active fan base.
Tarana Burke, the creator of the #MeToo movement, spoke out about holding R. Kelly accountable. "The R. Kelly issue is something that is an internal issue in our community," she says. She also mentioned ways that those outside of the community can help, including the petitioning of record labels Sony and Live Nation to drop him from their lineup.
"Beyond that, we have to have some internal conversations in our own community … it’s a hard one and we’re going to have to approach it with some delicacy and some nuance. There are things that are very particular to certain communities. In the Latino-Latina community, in the black community, in the Asian community, we all have very specific ways [with] issues around sexual violence that we have to deal with,” Burke concluded.
Sony Records removed Dr. Luke from his position as head of Kemosabe Records after a public outcry following accusations made by Kesha against the producer. A similar outcry has arisen around R. Kelly, but he has not been held to the same standards by his record label.
R. Kelly's career has continued to remain stable in large part because of the race of his victims,. The public still has difficulty seeing Black girls and women with the same innocence and purity as white women are regarded.
Despite its lack of coverage, race does play a role in the conversations surrounding sexual misconduct. Black and other women of color are decentered and erased from the mainstream narrative surrounding sexual misconduct. Much work remains to be done in illustrating the importance of talking about race when it comes to sexual misconduct.
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