For years R&B singer R. Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, has been in the news. Not for his incredible singing talent but for an almost constant reporting of rape, abuse, exploitation, and assault of minors and women. The Associated Press gave an impressive timeline hitting the biggest headlines and accusations, we’ve summarized the list and turned into a bit of a story to follow along.
On Jan 8th, R. Kelly is born in Chicago. During his childhood, R. Kelly claims he’s sexually abused and then at 12 years old he witnesses a rape. After singing in choirs and performing in talent shows, people begin to take notice, however “he performs in subway stations with his keyboard, often feigning blindness to avoid arrest.”
After his career takes off “I Believe I Can Fly” and other platinum records, R. Kelly who was then 27 in 1994, illegally marries 15 year-old singer Aaliyah. “Marriage is annulled months later because of Aaliyah’s age.” He goes on to produce “Aaliyah’s debut album “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number”.
From 1997 all the way to now dozens of charges of child pornography, sexual abuse, exploitation, racketeering, and more are constantly making headlines. Several cases are acquitted, some are dropped or settled out of court. One of the most notable charges in 2003 took place in Florida where investigators claimed they found photos of him with a female minor; those charges were dropped because the police didn’t have a warrant.
In 2006 his brother Carey Kelly stated that R. Kelly “offered him $50,000 and a record deal to say he was the person in the sex video.”
The allegations continued to get worse for R. Kelly until he was indicted in three different states in 2019.
On Sept 24th, 2021 the Jury begins to deliberate in New York “even as trial dates in Illinois and Minnesota cases remain to be set.” Three days later, Sept 27th, the jury returns with a guilty verdict for sex trafficking and violating the Mann Act.
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While there are many opinions on the subject of R. Kelly’s innocence or guilt, Bill Cosby’s representative says the 84 year-old comedian believes the singer was railroaded.
Andrew Wyatt, Cosby’s spokesperson stated “The deck was stacked against Robert….His constitutional rights were grossly abused. I don’t know anywhere but in this country in the United States that a documentary can bring criminal charges against someone…He also didn’t have the resources and means, he should have asked for support from the court. He would have gotten better representation…This is a guy who made the song ‘I believe I can fly’ when there were rumors about young girls. The song played at every wedding and in every church. He was doing music with Lady Gaga!”
Bill Cosby thinks R. Kelly got railroaded in his federal sex crimes case. https://t.co/Dsb6mNgY5r
— TMZ (@TMZ) September 28, 2021
There are several reactions to the news of R. Kelly’s verdict as well as to Bill Cosby speaking out in defense of him.
Bill Cosby defending R. Kelly pic.twitter.com/CId5CnJSvQ
— Pizza Dad (@Pizza__Dad) September 29, 2021
Bill Cosby could've just slithered away from prison.
But no. Of course he's out here defending child sex trafficker R. Kelly. pic.twitter.com/xI6GKcN70K
— clockoutwars (@clockoutwars) September 29, 2021
One reaction to the news came from R. Kelly’s ex wife Drea Kelly whom he has three children with. While she is in no way sympathizing with R. Kelly or his actions, she does feel some pain for her children who she believes will never break free from the legacy that’s in their “DNA”.
She stated, “So, I wear two hats. I wear the hat of a survivor and an advocate, but I also wear the hat of a mother and an ex-wife,” she explained. “So, it’s very difficult for me. I feel that my heart is in two places. My heart definitely goes out to the survivors and the courage it takes to even come forward and tell their story.”
“But my heart also breaks as a mother because this is now the legacy that my children will have to deal with and their children’s children at the end of the day. You cannot walk away from your bloodline. I have the ability to separate and kind of distance myself from it, but his blood runs through my children’s veins. It’s a part of their DNA. They can’t escape it even if they wanted to, so it’s very difficult for me to sit in that position.”