R. Kelly was removed from
RCA Records’ website on Friday, but no official statement has been made by the record label.
Sony and R. Kelly have agreed to part ways, according to a
Billboard report. The “Surviving R. Kelly” documentary and subsequent backlash from activists, music fans, and fellow music artists seems to have taken its toll, after more than 25 years of accusations of sexual and physical abuse.
His back catalogue will remain with the label. And there are still concerns:
Entertainment attorney Leslie Frank, a partner of King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano, told
“If R. Kelly does not want to terminate the agreement and instigates a dispute saying that it’s a breach of contract by RCA, if RCA is concerned about the cost of litigation and how a court might decide, they could try to come to a settlement with R. Kelly.”
His current adviser, Don Russell, told
Rolling Stone that several record labels are “very interested” in working with Kelly.
“We understand RCA’s position: they have to remain transparent for the sake of the other artists that they represent and generate wealth for,” he said. “They’re not in the position of dealing with the kind of stuff that has come about with R. Kelly. He has no issue with RCA. I think he’s outgrown RCA. He’s ready for the next level of life, anyway.”
Protesters have mounted the pressure on the label, especially in recent weeks.
Ultra Violet, a women’s organization, commissioned a place to fly over Sony Music’s Los Angeles offices carrying sign that told them to drop R. Kelly.
Protests were also held outside the New York headquarters.
On Wednesday, protesters
delivered a petition including more than 200,000 signatures asking for RCA and its parent company, Sony Music Entertainment, to drop the singer.
Time’s Up called on streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music to remove his music. “All allies in the fight against sexual violence,” the group
wrote on Twitter, “must take a stand on this toxic issue.”
Artists like John Legend, Chance the Rapper, and Keke Palmer have spoken out against him.
Lady Gaga and Celine Dion recently removed their duets with R. Kelly from streaming services and French rock band Phoenix apologized for collaborating with the singer in 2013.
His daughter, Joann Kelly, called him a “monster” and his ex-wife Andrea Lee gave detailed accounts of the abuse in their marriage in the documentary.
“This is a huge victory for the survivors who came forward, both in “Surviving R. Kelly”
and before, and all young Black women, who are systematically undervalued in our society,” said Arisha Hatch of Color of Change in a statement.
And on Friday, his former manager, Henry James Mason
turned himself in to the authorities in Georgia, after being wanted on a warrant for terroristic threats and acts against Timothy Savage, whose daughter Joycelyn was believed to be one of his victims.
Reactions on social media:
It took too long. But it’s done. For one reason: the hard work and inexhaustible ferocity of the mostly female and black activists who wouldn’t give up. Hats off to them. Sorry that
#RCA (and I as a white person) didn’t do more and sooner. Hope we’re all learning from this.
Jessica Craven for Delegate #AD51 (@Craven7Jessica)
January 18, 2019
No doubt about it dude but doesn’t it all just seem fake As in Sony & others really don’t give a shit about what he’s been doing to young black girls, there only distancing themselves because it’s the ‘trendy’ thing to do right now, which is to distance yourself from him.
Chillhop Wrestlin (@aProWrestlinfan)
January 18, 2019
Reader Question: Do you think jail is next for R. Kelly