R. Kelly delivers racy performance despite sexual assault allegations

Apple Music quietly removes R. Kelly’s music from playlists just days after Spotify amid intensifying sexual abuse allegations

  • Apple Music has removed R. Kelly’s music from its playlists days after competitor Spotify did the same 
  • R&B star R. Kelly, 51, performed in Greensboro, North Carolina, on Friday as around 30 people protested outside of the venue
  • The concert came after a difficult week for the star whose been accused of sexual abuse dating back decades
  • Last week the Times Up group created the #MuteRKelly movement against him
  • During the performance he hit back at the movement by passing out T-shirts that said ‘Turn Up R. Kelly’ 
  • At one point he rubbed a fan’s cell phone between his legs and persuaded another to wipe his face, tongue and crotch with a towel

Apple Music quietly removed R. Kelly’s music from its playlists days after Spotify publicly announced it would no longer promote his music. 

It was a particularly difficult week for the 51-year-old R&B singer who’s been embroiled in allegations of sexual abuse going back decades. 

The streaming services’ decisions to remove Kelly’s music from their playlists came less than a week after the Time’s Up organization, which is devoted to helping women in the aftermath of sexual abuse, issued a statement urging further investigation into Kelly’s behavior.

The organization was specifically seeking action from Kelly’s label RCA Records and Ticketmaster, as well as Spotify and Apple Music.

At the end of April Times Up launched the #MuteRKelly movement, aimed at highlighting Kelly’s alleged abuses on social media.

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The 51-year-old began performing in the 80s and made his official debut in 1992 with the group Public Announcement. In 1993, he went solo with the album 12 Play

Kelly’s songs including hits Ignition, I Believe I Can Fly, Step in the Name of Love, Same Girl and Bump N’ Grind are still available on both Spotify and Apple Music.

Spotify was very transparent about it’s decision to ban the artist citing a ‘hate content and hateful conduct policy, whereas Apple Music decline to comment on its decision.

Radio streaming service Pandora also declined to discuss how it is now treating Kelly’s music in its curated playlists, but said it has decided not to promote ‘artists with certain demonstrable behavioral, ethical or criminal issues. We approach each of these scenarios on a case-by-case basis.’

R&B singer R. Kelly delivered a raunchy performance for a crowd of loyal fans on Friday in Greensboro, North Carolina, following a difficult week of sex abuse allegations

The singer appeared to have put the snubs behind him when he delivered a raunchy performance for a crowd of loyal fans on Friday.

On stage he rubbed one fan’s phone in his crotch and persuaded another to wipe his face, tongue and groin with a towel. 

Before the performance in Greensboro, North Carolina, Kelly passed out T-shirts that said: ‘Turn Up R. Kelly’ in response to the #MuteRKelly movement.

A fan captured a video of the sexually suggestive performance on Instagram in which a woman can be seen touching the Kelly’s groin area while he sings

R Kelly posted a photo of the crowd at Greensboro Coliseum on Saturday morning after the concert with the caption ‘Had fun partying with y’all last night

Free T-shirts with the words ‘Turn Up R. Kelly were passed out to audience members. The phrase was coined in response to the #MuteRKelly protest movement that began in April

He also invited several audience members on stage and thanked the crowd of 8,000 people for attending and for fighting for him.

‘I’ve been through a lot of (expletive)’ this week, he said, adding that he had been asked backstage to tone down his lyrics because families were in attendance. 

‘Let me ask y’all something,’ he said to the crowd. ‘Can I do my show tonight?’ 

Kelly then launched into his sexually suggestive repertoire interspersed with references to ‘God’.

At one point, he rubbed a fan’s cell phone between his legs. He persuaded another to wipe his face, tongue and crotch with a towel. 

The lewd actions is exactly what Kelly fans were expecting from the artist who is known for his salacious behavior.

That same behavior, though, is at the core of the controversy surrounding Kelly.

Over the past three decades he’s been accused by multiple women of sexual violence, coercion, engaging in relationships with teenagers too young to give their consent and running a ‘sex cult’. 

While Kelly was performing on Friday night about 30 people stood outside the venue with signs protesting the event

Women’s groups had urged the venue to cancel the concert days after Kelly was disinvited from a concert in Chicago 

Over the past three decades Kelly has been accused by multiple women of sexual violence, coercion, engaging in relationships with teenagers too young to give their consent

‘Sometimes, some storms ain’t gonna stop,’ Kelly told the audience. 

‘As long as my fans are calling for me, I’m gonna be on that stage, singing these songs.’

While Kelly performed an hour-long set at Greensboro Coliseum, roughly 30 people stood outside with signs protesting the event.

Women’s groups had urged the venue to cancel the concert days after Kelly was disinvited from a concert in Chicago.   

The three-time Grammy winner has been called the ‘King of Pop’ for his longtime fame

Kelly’s management protested the removal of his songs from playlists in a statement to The Associated Press.

‘R. Kelly never has been accused of hate, and the lyrics he writes express love and desire,’ the statement read. 

‘Mr. Kelly for 30 years has sung songs about his love and passion for women. He is innocent of the false and hurtful accusations in the ongoing smear campaign against him, waged by enemies seeking a payoff. 


1994 – R Kelly, then 27, married Aaliyah, who was 15 at the time

1996 – The singer is sued by Tiffany Hawkins for ‘personal injuries and emotional distress’. She claimed she began having sex with Kelly when she was just 15. The case was settled in 1998.

2001 – Kelly was sued by a former intern, Tracy Sampson, who accused him of inducing her into ‘an indecent sexual relationship’ when she was 17. The case was settled out of court.

2002 – The R&B artist is sued by two more women. Patrice Jones claimed he got her pregnant when she was 16 and Montina Woods accused him of filming them having sex without her consent. Both cases were settled out of court. 

In the same year, a video emerged that allegedly showed Kelly having sex with a 14-year-old girl.

Kelly was charged with making child pornography, but he was later found not guilty on all counts.

2017 – Kelly is accused of holding six women against their will at his properties in Chicago and Atlanta.

One of the women, Joycelyn Savage, has denied she was being held against her will.

Jerhonda Pace and Kitti Jones also come forward, alleging they were abused by Kelly. The singer denies the allegations.

‘He never has been convicted of a crime, nor does he have any pending criminal charges against him.’

Kelly himself has denied abusing anyone and faces no current criminal charges, and his fans weren’t giving up on their R&B superstar.

‘Everybody has some skeletons in the closet. I’m not going to tear him down, every good thing he does, because of something negative in his life,’ said Clarissa Kelley of Lancaster, South Carolina.

The Greensboro concert was among the R&B singer’s first performances since the #MuteRKelly movement accelerated boycott efforts in recent weeks, with help from the Time’s Up campaign against sexual harassment and assault.

‘It’s important for the black community to stand up and hold him accountable for his actions,’ said Omisade Burney-Scott, with the Sistersong, a reproductive rights group. 

One of the first accounts of Kelly’s inappropriate conduct was in 1994, when he wed 15-year-old Aaliyah, previously his protege.

The marriage was annulled and the two refused to confirm that it even happened.

He was later accused of child pornography after a widely circulated videotape appeared to show him having sex with, and urinating on, a teenage girl. 

He was ultimately acquitted of all charges in 2008 and continued to rack up hits and sell out stadiums around the country.    

In recent years, as more women have come forward to allege misconduct, protests against Kelly have increased.

A woman told Rolling Stone last year that she was in a long-term relationship with the singer that was sexually and physically abusive. 

Parents claimed their daughter was being held by Kelly as part of a sex cult but their daughter, who was of age, denied their claims. 

Recently a woman in Dallas filed a lawsuit against the singer claiming he gave her a sexually transmitted disease, and she claimed he was grooming her to be a part of a sex cult.

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