Around 30 protesters gathered outside Little Caesars Arena Wednesday night to make a statement supporting sexual assault victims and to let R.Kelly know that his “rape culture is not welcome here.”
Several of the R&B singer’s shows have been cancelled on his most recent “Tale of Two Kings” tour with Charlie Wilson as a result of the #MuteRKelly movement. The Detroit group that formed in December 2017 aimed to cancel this show that was put on by the radio station 105.9 Kiss and 313 Presents — a joint venture between Olympia Entertainment and Palace Sports and Entertainment.
Watch live video here.
“We’re out here trying to mute R.Kelly and bring awareness to sexual assault and the violence that happens to young black and brown girls,” said Sharron Fincher, protest co-organizer and access coordinator at Wayne County SAFE in Detroit. “There is no accountability standard with R.Kelly. He’s still able to perform in arenas and people still support him and it’s very problematic. We would like to raise awareness about what is going on and give a voice to people in our city and to young girls who are voiceless.”
R. Kelly, 51, is accused of being a cult leader, a rapist, and a sexual predator. He has managed to balance years of success – the sale of over 100 million albums, winning multiple Grammy Awards – with almost a dozen allegations — and one trial — since the 1990s, for illegal and inappropriate sexual conduct with both women and minors.
“It’s the time right now,” said Dr. Kevicha Echols, who protested with Tafari Stevenson-Howard. “Women’s voices have been silenced for so long and now that you have so many people out here speaking about it – especially someone like R.Kelly who we’ve known throughout his career history having sexual assault or rape allegations – whether he’s been convictedor not, I don’t know, but I feel like it’s just time to hold people accountable.”
The protest was hosted by Detroit Slutwalk, Wayne County SAFE, Wayne County Greens, Girls Rock Detroit, Metro Detroit Political Action Network, Women’s March Michigan, and the Sexual Assault Services for Holistic Healing and Awareness Center (SASHA Center).
Members of the community who marched were chanting “Black girls lives matters,” “LCA shame on you,” “What are we gonna do? Mute R.Kelly! When are we gonna do it? Now!” and “We love Uncle Charlie, but not R.Kelly.”
Protest co-organizer Kalimah Johnson, who is also founder and executive director for the SASHA Center, said, “I think it’s important for us to make our voices heard because the city of Detroit has allowed a known predator of females – black females in particular – of sexual assault of underage girls – into our city to perform to make his money so he can continue to hold women hostage in their homes in Chicago and in Atlanta. It’s just inappropriate. We have never wanted him here. We have been muting R.Kelly for years. We believe this is part of the #MeToo movement … We just want everyone to know that black women matter in this country and when you have somebody like him who’s been accused and alleged all this time and he hasn’t lost his job like Matt Lauer, he hasn’t lost his job like Harvey Weinstein. So we just like when we gonna hold this man accountable?”
Follow the #MuteRKelly movement online at facebook.com/MuteRKelly/.