For the first time since he pleaded for the trial of Harvey Weinstein, the collective Time & # 39; s Up has pointed to an alleged abuser: R & B star Robert Kelly. Women of Color of Time & # 39; s Up, a subcommittee of the largest group that specifically organizes issues affecting women and girls of color, issued a statement this morning announcing its support for #MuteRKelly, an online campaign soliciting Live Nation and Sony Music canceling R. Kelly's tour comes out and drops her recording contract. Women of the color of time, which includes Ava DuVernay, Shonda Rimes and Jurnee Smollett-Bell, also ask other "corporations and places", including Kelly's label, RCA Records, to cut off relations with the singer.
Over the course of almost two decades, several women have accused Kelly of sexual misconduct, legal rape, aggravated assault and harassment. Journalist Jim DeRogatis in Chicago Sun-Times first published the story in 2000 that Kelly had been charged with legal rape with girls as young as 15 years old. The allegations against Kelly continued to appear, including an explosive interview with DeRogatis in the Village Voice in 2013, but despite multiple lawsuits against him, the singer's career remained relatively stable. Last summer, DeRogatis published another report in BuzzFeed that Kelly was holding very young women against her will in a "cult", deciding things like what they used and when they went to the bathroom.
Although sexual assault convictions are difficult to obtain in general – Bill Cosby was convicted of sexual assault last week after decades of inaction and accusations of 60 people – the alleged victims of R. Kelly are overwhelmingly young women and Black girls, who have seen little, if any, support from institutions designed to protect them. In that 2013 interview Village Voice DeRogatis said: "The saddest thing I have learned is that no one cares less about our society than black girls. Nobody ."
The Women of Color of Time magazine's statement asks readers to "insist on a world in which women of all kinds can pursue their dreams without sexual assault, abuse or predatory behavior."
"As women of color within time, we recognize that we have a responsibility to help correct this error We intend to shed a bright light on our WOC sisters in need It is our hope that we will never feel ignored or silenced plus ".
You can read the complete letter in The Root .
Update (4:00 PM EDT): A spokesperson for R. Kelly has given the following statement to BuzzFeed : "R. Kelly supports the pro-women goals of the Time & # 39; s Up movement. We understand that criticizing a famous artist is a good way to draw attention to those objectives, and in this case, it is unfair and out of focus. "