For over 24 years, R. Kelly has been accused of sexually assaulting girls and women. The Time’s Up movement has had enough and are calling for corporation to cut with the singer — RCA Records, Ticketmaster, Spotify and Apple Music, just to name a few.
After #MuteRKelly went viral yesterday, the singer responded with a statement to BuzzFeed, “R. Kelly supports the pro-women goals of the Time’s Up movement. We understand criticizing a famous artist is a good way to draw attention to those goals — and in this case, it is unjust and off-target.” Then, in one of the worst analogies ever, Kelly claimed the criticism is an “attempted public lynching of a Black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture.” He also added, “Since America was born, black men and women have been lynched for having sex or for being accused of it.”
Clearly, Kelly is deeply delusional and Me Too founder Tarana Burke clapped back in the classiest way. According to NPR, the activist said, “This is not a lynching. You know, we are only a week out of the national monument to lynching being opened in Montgomery, Ala. and the history, and the reality of lynching in America is so, so painful and so real. This is not a public lynching. This is a call for public accountability.”
She continued, “So what we’ve seen in the last six months is a wave of accountability happen where corporations have stepped away from men, even if in the short term, to have authentic investigations into allegations. We have seen 24 years of allegations leveled against R. Kelly, and he has gone unscathed. So what the letter does is join the #MuteRKelly campaign, that was well on its way already, and joined the chorus of Black women around the country who have been saying we want some accountability. Those things have to be interrogated. And I think at the very least we need to see corporations step away from them until we have satisfactory investigation into these allegations.”
Well said — and moving forward, people need to stop comparing their situation to lynchings from Clarence Thomas to Bill Cosby to R. Kelly. Their stories are not Emmett Till, Jesse Washington, Abraham Smith, Thomas Shipp and so many others.