Earlier this month, Lifetime aired the bombshell docuseries Surviving R. Kelly. The project featured interviewers with survivors and figures from the R&B singer's inner circle, who shared heartbreaking stories about his alleged sexual, mental, and physical abuse. This includes allegations of sexual misconduct, pursuing sexual relationships with underage girls and holding women in a manipulative sex "cult."
R. Kelly has steadfastly denied these allegations, and is no stranger to controversy. In 2008, he was acquitted of child pornography charges, and the scandal appeared to cause no damage to his career. However, now the reckoning has come. As a direct result of the docuseries, the Ignition singer is under criminal investigation in Georgia and Illinois. Stars such as John Legend, Lady Gaga and Chance The Rapper have denounced the alleged predator, and removed their collaborations with him from streaming services. Outside the Sony building in Manhattan, protesters have rallied, holding signs reading "#MuteRKelly."
Following the furor over Surviving R. Kelly, the 52-year-old singer has reportedly been dropped from his record label. Sony Music's RCA Records has removed him from their website, where he was featured as recently as last month, according to a screenshot on the internet archive. Citing unnamed sources, Billboard and Variety report that Sony has decided to dissolve their working relationship. However, his catalog is still available on digital retailers and streaming services.
In the 90's, R. Kelly signed with Jive Records, which became part of Sony BMG, which became part of the Sony umbrella. (Record labels are a tangled orgy of capitalism, aren't they?) In 2012, R. Kelly signed with Sony Music's subsidiary, RCA Records. Apparently his label stuck with him because he has never been been convicted of a crime and vehemently defended his innocence. However, thanks to the revelatory docuseries, and the enlightened climate of the #MeToo era, it looks like their view has changed.
On Twitter earlier this month, R. Kelly promised fans a "new album." I guess now it will be dropped independently!
Even his own family is turning against him: Recently R. Kelly's estranged daughter, Buku Abi released a statement on Instagram Story about the problems she has faced:
"To the people that feel I should be speaking up/against everything that is going on right now. I just want you all know understand that devastated is an understatement for all that I feel currently. I do apologize if my silence to all that is happening comes off as careless. That is my last intention. I pray for all the families & women who have been affected by my father’s actions. Trust, I have been deeply affected by all of his. However, It has been very difficult to process it all. Let alone gather all the right words to express everything I feel.
"Anyone that knows me personally or has been following me throughout the years knows that I do not have a relationship with my father. Nor do I speak on him or on his behalf. I also am not fond of dealing with my personal issues or personal life experience through social media but I feel things are starting to get out of hand.
"Unfortunately for my own personal reasonings & for all my family has endured in regards to him, his life decisions, and his last name, it has been years since my siblings and I have seen or have spoken to him. In regards to my mother, she for the same reasonings and more, has not seen or spoken to my father in years. My mother, siblings, and I would never condone, support or be apart of ANYTHING negative he has done and or continues to do in his life."