Following Lifetime’s three-night premiere of its Surviving R. Kelly documentary, viewers have shared their honest thoughts on why the program’s subject needs to be held accountable for his reported crimes. Within the voice of the masses, artists like Tank, John Legend, Omarion and more publicized their opinion and vowed to not support R. Kelly in any capacity going forward.
Like those aforementioned entertainers, Common joined the ranks to not only question the role others might have played in allowing Kelly’s actions to go on but also how black women are treated by the criminal justice system. “If it wasn’t just black women who R. Kelly had been molesting and abusing, if it wasn’t just black women, he would’ve been attacked by the system in a different way, meaning the system doesn’t have a value for black women the way they do white women or other nationalities,” Common said to TMZ.
The Chicago native added that the black community was also aware of what was occurring, “And instead of trying to be like, ‘Let’s go try to resolve this situation and free these young ladies and stop this thing that’s going on,’ we were just like, ‘Man, we rocking to the music.'” Common then questioned his own fault in not using his platform to enact change. “I’m guilty of that too myself because I didn’t stop and be like, ‘Yo,’ and speak against this. R. Kelly’s from my hometown,” the “Be” rapper said. “At the end of the day, he’s a human being. He has his issues and we see that, but I can’t condone that and I shouldn’t be allowing that to happen. We failed our community as black people.”
While Common’s last statement on how Kelly’s music still thrived (his discography saw an increase in streams after the docu-series aired) radio stations are beginning to pull the plug on playing his music. According to Rolling Stone, Dallas’ K104, and KRNB, announced a decision to cease Kelly’s tunes on its radio-waves.
DeDe McGuire, a host of K104’s morning segment, supported the station’s commitment, stating: “Radio has always played a major role in the black community…that goes back to the civil rights movement. We have to take care of our own. If the courts won’t take care of [Kelly] in terms of punishing him, then we’ll stop playing his music as punishment.”
We failed our community as black people. - Common
In an interview with VIBE, #MuteRKelly co-founder Oronike Odeleye outlined why radio’s boycott of Kelly’s music can help propel the movement to make him hold himself accountable and legal action takes place.
“People don’t really think about the connection between radio play and the finances of these artists. This is what has enabled him to continue touring,” Odeleye said. “When he tours, we’ll wanna buy tickets. That money goes straight to lawyers to insulate himself from the consequences of his crimes, and it makes us all complicit in the sexual molestation of young black women. It’s super important that we keep up that fight.”