The Women of Color committee within the Time’s Up movement has its sights set on a new target: R. Kelly.
The “I Believe I Can Fly” singer, who has been accused of holding a slew of young girls in alleged “sex cults” in his Chicago and Atlanta-area homes, was the target of a protest Monday called #MuteRKelly, which calls for a boycott of the 51-year-old star and further investigations into the harrowing allegations that have plagued him for years.
“The scars of history make certain that we are not interested in persecuting anyone without just cause,” a statement from the committee read. “With that said, we demand appropriate investigations and inquiries into the allegations of R. Kelly’s abuse made by women of color and their families for over two decades now.”
The statement urged followers to throw their support behind #MuteRKelly, an online campaign that was launched last year by Oronike Odeleye and Kenyette Barnes.
The goal of the campaign is to all but erase Kelly from the airwaves by targeting companies streaming his music and venues hosting his concerts.
The Time’s Up statement directly called on RCA Records, which produces and distributes his music, Ticketmaster, which issues tickets to his shows, Spotify and Apple Music, which offer his music for streaming and the Greensboro Coliseum Complex in North Carolina, which is set to host a show May 11, to cut all ties with the singer.
“The recent court decision against Bill Cosby is one step toward addressing these ills, but it is just a start. We call on people everywhere to join with us to insist on a world in which women of all kinds can pursue their dreams free from sexual assault, abuse and predatory behavior,” the statement read, referring to last week’s verdict that found Cosby guilty of sexual assault.
The organization’s key supporters, including Shonda Rhimes, Ava DuVernay and actress Jurnee Smollett, all shared the open letter on Twitter and expressed their support.
#MeToo founder Tarana Burke also chimed in, sharing a sense of optimism that time might finally be up for Kelly.
“This has been a long, hard, fought journey that SO MANY sisters have been on for more than a decade,” Burke wrote on Twitter. “This man is a predator and 100 percent of his victims have been Black and Brown girls. At times it felt like screaming into a well, but thank God for reckoning this coming.”
Kelly, whose real name is Robert Kelly, has long denied all claims against him, though they stretch back decades, to when he married a 15-year-old Aaliyah in 1994.
The union was later annulled, but Kelly came under fire again when video surfaced that appeared to show him having sex with and urinating on a teenage girl. He was acquitted of any child pornography charges in 2008.
Shocking claims against the star bubbled to the surface once again last July, when he was accused of housing multiple young women in his home and controlling all aspects other lives, including what they wore, who they spoke to and their sex lives.
A woman named Kitti Jones, who was in a relationship with the singer for two years, recently detailed her experiences in a BBC Three documentary, and revealed how she watched Kelly groom a 14-year-old girl to be one of his “sex pets.”
“I saw that she was dressed like me, that she was saying the things I’d say and her mannerisms were like mine,” Jones told reporter Ben Zand. “That’s when it clicked in my head that he had been grooming me to become one of his pets. He calls them his pets.”
Earlier this month, Kelly was sued by a woman who claimed the singer tried to groom her for his “sex cult” and infected her with a sexually transmitted disease.
Neither RCA Records, Spotify, Ticketmaster, Apple Music nor the Greensboro Coliseum Complex immediately responded to a request for comment.