Beginning his R&B career in the early 1990s, R. Kelly had seen at least 2 successful decades of producing bops that earned him the title King of R&B. However, Kelly had always been plagued with gossip of lewd behaviour, even since the start of his career. From his alleged marriage to his underage protege Aaliyah, to multiple counts of sexual abuse against girls and women, Kelly is seen as a questionable character. There had been numerous rumours about his conduct with females and with the documentary Surviving R. Kelly airing in 2019, many more victims came forward to talk about the abuse they had suffered at the hands of the King of R&B. Since the airing of this documentary, Kelly was arrested in Chicago in July 2019 and remains in jail without bond for fear of him fleeing the country if released.
Previously, Kelly was found not guilty in 2008 when he went on trial for child pornography charges related to a video that allegedly showed him performing sexual acts with a minor, dating back to 2002. Between the initial filing of charges against Kelly for child pornography in the 2008 trial, he did have other criminal charges brought against him in Florida pertaining to child pornography, but they were subsequently dropped due to lack of sufficient evidence. Furthermore, in the 6 years between the 2002 charges and acquittal in 2008, he continued to enjoy critical success with the drop of Trapped In The Closet and continued growing success post trial.
He allegedly continued with his illicit activities for many years following the 2008 court hearing and in a 2017 Buzzfeed article, Kelly was accused of creating a sex cult full of females ranging from underage to young adults. Then in 2018, the #MuteRKelly campaign began to lobby record label RCA to sever ties with the singer. They also pursued concert promoters, fans and streaming services to ensure that he is no longer given a platform to make money or attract future victims.
On 13th March 2020, Brooklyn prosecutors brought forward extra charges against him as they allege that in 2015, Kelly infected an underage female with herpes without disclosing to her he had the disease. In the end, the Brooklyn prosecutors charged Kelly with 9 counts: 1 of fraudulent business dealings and 8 infringements of the Mann Act which prohibits sex trafficking across states. In this case, there are allegedly 6 victims, with 3 of them underage at the time the crimes were supposedly committed. Kelly denies all charges. A month before, prosecutors for the state of Illinois also filed new charges against the singer which are similar to the charges brought against him in Brooklyn.
As of July 2020, Kelly is charged with 22 crimes that allegedly involves 11 girls and women from 1994 to 2018 but pleads not guilty. Kelly’s Brooklyn trial is scheduled to start on 7th July 2020 and his Illinois federal trial is to begin on 13th October 2020.
We will continue to update following the outcome of the trials.