R Kelly, who used to be one of America’s favorite R&B artists, has been in and out of the news all year long after the premiere of Surviving R. Kelly, a Lifetime docu series about Kelly’s abuse towards women from the 1990s to the present. Prior to the release of the Lifetime series, it was known that R. Kelly has had his issues with sexual misconduct. More than 15 years ago, he was in court because of 10+ child pornography counts against him, but was later released of all chargers. Since then, R. Kelly was able to continue making music with popular musical artists, such as Justin Bieber, Usher, Keri Hilson, 2 Chainz and Robin Thicke, to name a few. For around 10 years, no one really spoke about the sexual abuse and misconduct allegations that Kelly dealt with, but when Surviving R. Kelly premiered in early 2019, almost everyone started asking questions about why he was not put in jail years ago.
On the first night of the Surviving R. Kelly premiere , there were over 1.8 million people watching live, and by the final episode, there were nearly 2.3 million people tuning in. The docu series featured several victims/survivors of R. Kelly actions, including women who were abused, the family members of women who are currently living in Kelly’s home, and former friends/employees/musician friends. Despite the series being very emotional, the impact of the documentary was very apparent. There were various “Mute R Kelly” campaigns all across the US, many artists opted to have their songs with Kelly removed from streaming services, former fans ran to social media to express their distaste with Kelly’s actions, and legal actions were now being pursued. Nearly a week after the docu series premiered, Kim Foxx, the State Attorney in Illinois, announced that her office was informed of a plethora of calls regarding R Kelly and more sexual abuse from the singer. After investigating for several weeks, the Cook County State Attorney’s Office decided to charged R. Kelly with aggravated criminal sexual abuse dating from the late 90s to 2010. When the public learned of these charges, many were overjoyed and hopeful for change, while others believed that he would still find a way to play the system. R. Kelly went in the next day, turned himself in and pleaded not guilty. In response, he was faced with a $1 million dollar bond and ordered not to interact with any of the victims nor minors under the age of 18.
As 2019 progressed, so did the charges that R. Kelly would face. He was later indicted by Chicago and New York prosecuters from crimes related to racketeering, forced labor, kidnapping, child pornography production, and child sexual exploitation, and Judges decided that he should not be offered bail. As of today, R. Kelly is still in jail and is not getting out of jail any time soon. TMZ recently reported that there is another indictment that is going to be added to R. Kelly’s list, and this time it involves Aaliyah, one of his victims who passed away in the early 2000s (due to a plane crash). In the documentary, one of Kelly’s old tour managers admitted to buying a non authorized ID for Aaliyah, when she was 15, so that she could ‘legally’ marry R. Kelly. Since the ‘crime’ took place more than 20 years ago, it is outside the statute of limitations, but prosecutors are looking to use it as a racketeering charge instead. R. Kelly has several hearings scheduled for 2020 in Illinois and New York that will determine whether or not he will be formally charged and sent to jail for his past crimes.