Surviving R. Kelly Sparks Action

Despite having a long reputation for his beautiful ballads and iconic songs such as “Ignition (Remix)” and “I Believe I Can Fly,” R. Kelly is one of the most controversial singers in R&B. Although he has a record for multiple arrests and sexual allegations, people still manage to keep this man in the spotlight. Even though R. Kelly has had allegations for over 30 years, the question still remains: How has he not been punished?

Kicking off the new year, Lifetime debuted the six part documentary series entitled “Surviving R. Kelly” at the start of January as a three night event. With over 30 interviewed people, including celebrities such as Tarana Burke, John Legend, Sparkle, and Wendy Williams and past associates of R. Kelly like ex-wife Andrea Kelly, ex-girlfriend Kitti Jones, brothers Carey, and Bruce Kelly, people of his past come forward with the truth.

Up until the recent #MeToo movement, the abuse of underage African American girls by R. Kelly had been largely ignored by mainstream media. This documentary depicts women emerging from the shadows and uniting to share the stories of R. Kelly’s crimes: sexual assault, abuse, kidnapping, sexual video of a child, and pedophilia.

With over a year in the making, the documentary sheds light on the lack of attention to young girls and women of color who have been sexually abused. R. Kelly’s fame gave him a high position of power that not only allowed him to abuse young black girls, but also have people turn the other way while he did it. Even though it might not seem like a happy story, this allows the media to finally give R. Kelly’s survivors a platform to have their voice finally heard.

Despite the definitive evidence and multiple witnesses, none of these accusations have seemingly affected him, until now. On Friday, February 22nd, R. Kelly was arrested and charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. According to police and The Washington Post, his arrest lists four victims and alleged sexual assaults dating back to 1998. Three of the victims were underage.

Hopefully, this is the first step to bringing justice for the girls and their families as the trial and fight for what’s right continues. Not only will this allow for these girls, and multiple unheard victims, to have their voices heard as they begin to heal from their emotional and physical scars, but it will also inspire several unheard woman to come forward.