Below is the full statement released by the Women of Color of Time’s Up on Monday morning, which released a flood of online debate about musician R Kelly and ignited a conversation about the activism of black women. The statement, first published by The Root, expressed support for the #MuteRKelly protest and called on the music industry to cut ties with Kelly.
To Our Fellow Women of Color:
We see you. We hear you. Because we are you.
For too long, our community has ignored our pain. The pain we bear is a burden that too many women of color have had to bear for centuries. The wounds run deep.
As women of color within Time’s Up, we recognize that we have a responsibility to help right this wrong. We intend to shine a bright light on our WOC sisters in need. It is our hope that we will never feel ignored or silenced ever again.
The recent court decision against Bill Cosby is one step toward addressing these ills, but it is just a start. We call on people everywhere to join with us to insist on a world in which women of all kinds can pursue their dreams free from sexual assault, abuse and predatory behavior.
To this end, today we join an existing online campaign called #MuteRKelly.
Over the past 25 years, the man known publicly as R Kelly has sold 60m albums, toured the globe repeatedly and accumulated hundreds of millions of plays on radio and streaming services.
During this time, he also …
Married a girl under 18 years of age;
Was sued by at least four women for sexual misconduct, statutory rape, aggravated assault, unlawful restraint and furnishing illegal drugs to a minor;
Was indicted on 21 counts of child pornography;
Has faced allegations of sexual abuse and imprisonment of women under threats of violence and familial harm.
Together, we call on the following corporations and venues with ties to R Kelly to join us and insist on safety and dignity for women of all kinds:
RCA Records: The venerable music label currently produces and distributes R Kelly’s music.
Ticketmaster: The popular ticketing system is currently issuing tickets for R Kelly’s show on 11 May.
Spotify and Apple Music: The popular streaming platforms are currently monetizing R Kelly’s music.
Greensboro Coliseum Complex: The North Carolina venue is currently hosting an R Kelly concert on 11 May.
The scars of history make certain that we are not interested in persecuting anyone without just cause. With that said, we demand appropriate investigations and inquiries into the allegations of R Kelly’s abuse made by women of color and their families for over two decades now. And we declare with great vigilance and a united voice to anyone who wants to silence us: their time is up.
Together we are strong,