Relief and disbelief greet R. Kelly’s guilty verdict



LOS ANGELES, Sept.27 (Reuters) – A mixture of relief and disbelief greeted the guilty verdict on Monday in the sex trafficking trial of singer R. Kelly, the most prominent musician of the #MeToo era but whose music remains popular on streaming services.

Kelly, once one of the best-selling R&B singers, has been convicted of all nine counts after around 25 years of using her fame and wealth to lure underage girls and women for sexual purposes . Read more

“Today my voice was heard,†Jerhonda Pace wrote on Instagram, one of the women who testified in her more than five-week trial.

“For years I was trolled for talking about the abuse I suffered from this predator. People called me a liar and said I had no proof. Some even said that I was speaking for money. Talking about abuse is not easy, especially when your abuser is in high profile, “Pace wrote.

Pace was also one of many women who spoke in detail in a poignant 2019 life documentary, “Surviving R. Kelly,†about the mental and sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of the singer. The documentary was the catalyst for opening an investigation that led to criminal charges against the singer in Chicago and New York.

Dream Hampton, the documentary’s executive producer, said on Twitter Monday that she was “grateful to the survivors. Those who spoke and those who didn’t.”

The MuteRKelly campaign, founded by two black women in 2017 in an attempt to get the singer’s music off the airwaves, said on Twitter that it hopes the verdict “brings some sense of justice to the brave survivors who have come forward.” .

Kelly’s music has largely disappeared from the radio but is still available on streaming platforms. His hit record “I Believe I Can Fly” was for years a popular choice at graduation ceremonies.

His supporters include a group of die-hard fans, derisively dubbed the “peehive†on social media, who showed their dismay in Brooklyn court and under the Twitter hashtag #FreeRKelly.

A supporter of R.Kelly reacts after R. Kelly was found guilty of all charges in his sexual abuse trial in Brooklyn Federal District Court in New York, United States on September 27, 2021. REUTERS / Brendan McDermid

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Some in Brooklyn cried when the verdict was read, and one supporter defiantly performed his song “Shut Up”.

“They don’t want to see a black man win,” wrote a poster on Twitter titled Zapac Zhakur under the hashtag #FreeRKelly.

Kelly, now 54, was abandoned by his record company RCA in early 2019, shortly after the documentary Lifetime aired.

After the documentary aired, some of the musicians who had previously collaborated with him, including Lady Gaga, Celine Dion and Chance the Rapper, apologized or requested that these recordings be removed from streaming services.

But most of his songs and albums are still available for streaming, and the RKelly TV YouTube channel has 3.5 million subscribers.

Data from the MRC music tracking service showed flows remained largely stable between 2017 and 2021, at around 5-6 million per week.

Music publication Billboard reported last month that Kelly, whose last album was released in 2016, was trying to sell the rights to her old catalog but had yet to find a buyer.

Merck Mercuriadis, whose Hipgnosis Songs Fund (SONG.L) recently purchased the rights to songs by Paul Simon, Bob Dylan and Neil Young, said he was not interested.

“We have no interest in the R Kelly catalog. There is a strong principle here of supporting the feelings and beliefs of our songwriting community – both women and men – which is more important. as economic opportunities, “Mercuriadis said in a statement Monday.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant in Los Angeles Editing by Howard Goller and Matthew Lewis

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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