The Women of Colour of #TimesUp call for a boycott of R. Kelly

In an open letter initially published on The Root, they reignite the hasthag #MuteRKelly and outline the the numerous allegations against him.

May 2, 2018

After a decade-spanning career that, somehow has managed to evade numerous sexual assault controversies that have filed up against R.Kelly, things finally seem to be rightfully crashing down for R. Kelly. The allegations of pedophilia and abuse at last are being taken far more seriously following Vince Staples calling out the artist during an interview at this year’s Coachella, with Kelly being dropped by his lawyer, publicist, and from the bills of numerous concerts and festivals.

Given the severity of Kelly’s actions—marrying Aaliyah when she was still a minor, child pornography charges, and numerous allegations of physical and sexual abuse towards women—many feel that the consequences should go beyond a public shaming, including the Women of Colour group within the #TimesUp movement, who yesterday revived the hashtag #MuteRKelly in order to call for an investigation into his crimes.

Although the #MuteRKelly hashtag did gain some traction last year, yesterday the WOC within the Time’s Up movement published a powerful letter urging people to use the hashtag to spread awareness of his actions to have his despicable behavior taken more seriously both by the corporations partnered with him—among them RCA Records and Ticketmaster—and by a court of law.

“As women of color within Time’s Up, we recognize that we have a responsibility to help right this wrong”, the letter states. “We intend to shine a bright light on our WOC sisters in need. It is our hope that we will never feel ignored or silenced ever again. […] To this end, today we join an existing online campaign called #MuteRKelly.”

The hashtag’s revival has already gained a powerful, newfound traction, being tweeted by celebrities within the black community including Ava Duvernay, John Legend, and Questlove:

This campaign comes on the heels of Bill Cosby being found guilty on multiple counts of aggravated indecent assault just last week, which the letter states “is one step toward addressing these ills, but it is just a start”, urging instead for “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.”

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