According to #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, when the women of color in Time’s Up published a letter urging music corporations to cut ties with R. Kelly, the only black woman not involved who spoke out about against the disgraced musician was director Ava DuVernay.
In a sit-down interview with reporter Jim DeRogatis and writer Jamilah Lemieux on Tuesday (June 4) to discuss DeRogatis’ latest book Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly, Burke made the revelation.
“We had a Time’s Up situation where the black women in Time’s Up came out in support of #MuteRKelly. What that took is another conversation,” Burke told the audience. “Prior to that, I had one-on-one conversations with black women in Hollywood and black women in music because folks were doing stories and they wanted a prominent black woman to go on record and talk about it. The only one who would do it was Ava DuVernay. The only one.”
Burke also explained that although there may be black female singers in support of #MuteRKelly, his influence is still palpable in the industry.
“I asked a singer who I didn’t even think could have a connection to him, and she said, ‘Well, I don’t know, because we share some writers,’” she continued. “Another woman said, ‘I would love to, but the backlash I would get on Twitter, I’m just not ready for it.’”
On Twitter in 2018, DuVernay chastised R. Kelly and Kanye West for evoking the imagery of lynching as attempts to be exonerated for their actions and comments.
“Evoking racial terrorism and murder for personal gain/blame is stratospheric in is audacity and ignorance,” she wrote.
Watch the entire sit-down above.