rkelly-walking-to-court
Scott Olson

R.Kelly Is In Jail On Federal Sex Trafficking Charges

“It goes without saying that with the new federal charges, R. Kelly is not in a position that would cause any envy."

R.Kelly faced a wide range of legal trouble in Illinois, however, after an arrest last week, the singer-songwriter's woes have taken a new turn, which may result in a lengthy--if not--life sentence.

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn and Illinois have charged the 52-year-old with racketeering and child pornography due to allegations Kelly, with the help of former employees, recruited and transported underage girls across state lines to molest them and create pornography. Kelly also instructed the minors to not testify against him.

Kelly was previously released on $1 million bail, however, Los Angeles attorney Lou Shapiro said due to the gravity of the new charges, Kelly will most likely stay inside the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago.

“His life is on the line now,” Shapiro told The Los Angeles Times, "I think he’ll be kept in. Ordinarily, he would be released, but the charges are so egregious, and he has every reason to flee.”

In Brooklyn, federal prosecutor indicted Kelly on five counts including a racketeering charge and four violations of the Mann Act, which prohibits crossing state lines for illegal sexual purposes.

The racketeering charge alleges Kelly committed sex crimes as part of an organized plot which existed under a threat of intimidation. Racketeering is most associated with organized crime and carries a 20-year minimum sentence.

The indictment outlines that the girls Kelly recruited were instructed to wear baggy clothes when they weren't with Kelly, to keep their head down and refer to Kelly as "daddy."

“It goes without saying that with the new federal charges, R. Kelly is not in a position that would cause any envy,”  Lara Yeretsian, a criminal defense attorney and founder of Yeretsian Law in Glendale, said. “He is facing up to 20 years for each racketeering count, while the Mann Act violations each have at least 15 to 21 months for each count. This doesn’t even include the decades he is facing in Chicago.”

Shapiro said Kelly's charges stem from dream hampton's Lifetime docu-series Surviving R. Kelly in which the writer-turned-filmmaker outlined Kelly's own childhood molestation, musical beginnings, rise to fame, and his countless sexual assaults against women and girls, including Aaliyah.

“You’re seeing prosecutions rise from a documentary that caused public anger and pressure,” Shapiro said. “It’s a day of reckoning for people who have gotten away in the arena of sex offenses.”

From the Web

More on Vibe

Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Something in the Water

SZA Reveals Sophomore Album Is On the Way

2017 was a monumental year for R&B artist SZA. The sultry and soulful singer dropped her album Ctrl, garnering the most Grammy Award nominations for a female artist in 2018.

In an interview on Kerwin Frost Talks, "The Weekend" songstress alluded that her next studio album is coming "soon as f**k." "Everybody I f**k with and respect never had an issue on sophomore albums. People who make real music, no bullsh*t, have never struggled with a sophomore album," she said. "It is a little bit to dance in your brain like 'What do people want from me?' And then you just gotta make sh*t that feels good."

Following an MTV Video Music Award, a BET Award for Best New Artist, a Billboard Music Award for Top R&B Female Artist, two Soul Train Music Awards, and three NAACP Image Awards, her highly-anticipated project is coming from a place that she compares to cognitive dissonance. The New Jersey native is inspired by the sounds of Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, Björk, and Wu-Tang Clan.

With no official release date announced, fans can only wonder if they will have all of the feels that her debut album successfully achieved.

Watch the full interview below.

Continue Reading
Actor Tray Chaney attends "Traffik" Atlanta VIP Screening at Regal Atlantic Station on April 16, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Codeblack Films

'The Wire's' Tray Chaney Shares His Testament In Self-Entitled Documentary Trailer

You may have seen Tray Chaney as Malik "Poot" Carr on the HBO Emmy-nominated drama series The Wire where he starts as a neighborhood drug dealer in the Barksdale organization and slowly moves up in ranks. He has also starred in a list of roles including Bounce TV's  Saints & Sinners as Kendrick Murphy and was nominated in 2019 at the International Christian Film Festival for Best Actor: Short Film in Angels in Rocket Field. 

After being accepted as an "Official Selection" during the Black Continental Independent Movie Awards in Silver Spring, Maryland, Chaney released the documentary trailer for Undeniable: The Tray Chaney Story under his Undeniable (Wired Different) campaign on Thursday (Aug. 15). The potential docuseries will follow the narratives of the journeys of The Wire cast members, how they landed their roles, what happened when the television series ended in 2008, and what they are doing now.

Under the production of Commodore Independent Filmworks and Safe House Films DC. Chaney's 45-minute episode features testimonials from Big Daddy Kane, Clifton Powell, Kenny Lattimore, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Russ Parr, Jd Williams, Keith Robinson, Anwan Big G Glover, and Black Child. His former co-star Idris Elba also shows his support for the documentary.

"Just know how hard he hustles," says Anwan "Big G" Glover.

The less than 2-minute snippet touches on the framework of Chaney, his eagerness and willingness to learn,  even mentioning his journey on Saints & Sinners as "the work of the Gods".

Watch the trailer for Undeniable: The Tray Chaney Story below.

Continue Reading
Tibrina Hobson

Angela Bassett To Receive The Black Girls Rock Icon Award

Angela Bassett has been an inspiration to black women for decades, so it's only fitting the Black Panther actress is being honored with the Icon Award at the 2019 Black Girls Rock ceremonies.

Created by DJ and entrepreneur Beverly Bond, Black Girls Rock is an award ceremony which aims to honor, acknowledge and celebrate the many contributions of black women.

The 61-year-old actress earned an Academy Award nomination for her brilliant portrayal of Tina Turner in the 1993 Brian Gibson film What's Love Got To Do With It. 

Black-Ish actress Tracee Ellis Ross was a previous Black Girls Rock host, however, this year's mistress of ceremony is Claws and When They See Us actress Niecy Nash.

The star power award will go to If Beale Street Could Talk actress Regina King. Ciara will receive the rock star award, Debra Martin Chase will walk away with the shot-caller award and Grammy-award winner H.E.R. will receive the Young Gifted and Black award.

The Community Change Agent Award will go to the mothers of the movement, Sybrina Fulton, Geneva Reed-Veal, Gwen Carr, Lucy McBath, Maria Hamilton and Cleopatra Pendleton-Cowley.

The 2019 Black Girls Rock Awards will air on BET September 8.

Continue Reading

Top Stories