Robert Sylvester Kelly (aka R. Kelly) was convicted on nine federal counts. A federal jury in New York found the R&B singer/songwriter guilty of the racketeering-related charges of sexual exploitation of children, forced labor, and Mann Act violations.
After news of the conviction broke, social media users shared their thoughts about R. Kelly facing a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and up to life in prison. Hip Hop legend Chuck D was among the people to comment on the subject.
“Abused in his youth… an addict as [an] adult… Ike Turner served 18 months in prison… Rick James did similar time. Ike came out a changed positive human being. How long should R. Kelly spend in prison – and does a USA system give a man a chance for a man to change his world around?” tweeted Chuck D on Tuesday.
Social Media Users Question The Intent Of Chuck D’s Tweet About R. Kelly
Chuck D’s statement was met with backlash as some critics took issue with the Public Enemy member discussing redemption for a convicted sex criminal that had not even been sentenced yet.
SNY reporter Chris Williamson replied to Chuck D’s tweet by posting, “Asking this sincerely my brotha, what made you feel this was necessary to tweet out given all that we know about Robert’s disgusting crimes and his lack of remorse?”
Chuck D answered, “You could take 80% of endorsed financed culture hijacked by the urban excuses. Adults have their world but the urban radio stations BET clearly stated their target audiences across [the] USA was 12-19 Black youth. 1990-2015. Check the songs and what was inside. For 25 years.”
Detroit Metro Times editor Alex Washington tweeted, “R. Kelly married an underage girl in 1995 when he was a 27-year-old man. It is the year of our Lord two thousand and twenty-one. His pattern continued and worsened and you want us to give him a chance for change? This the hill you want to [die] on?”
Washington was referring to R. Kelly secretly marrying the late Aaliyah when she was only 15 years old. That illegal relationship with his then-protégé was brought up during Kelly’s trial in Brooklyn. R. Kelly produced Aaliyah’s first album which was titled Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number.
Chuck D responded to Washington, “Twitter is cryptic where [were] people when every other song was revealing evidence of what was ok to program to Black kids over radio? All you gotta do is read the titles the past 25 years of Black songs and you get clues. His labels & radio knew what they [were] feeding.”
Chuck D Tweets An Apology
Multiple people pointed out that R. Kelly was allegedly engaging in sex with underage girls as far back as the 1990s and he should be held accountable for the pain he caused his victims.
Apparently, the negative reactions to Chuck D’s tweet about R. Kelly possibly being rehabilitated caused the 61-year-old rapper to return to Twitter six hours later and offer a mea culpa.
“JUST TO BE CLEAR, I’m not the R. Kelly fan here. 75 million sold somewhere & I ain’t got 1 of his songs. And his actions were criminal, my apologies if the wings of perception loomed beyond than the words on this slave App,” tweeted Chuck D on Tuesday night.
R. Kelly Still Faces More Federal Charges In Another State
R. Kelly was found guilty of racketeering and predicate acts in New York, including illegal sex with minors, sexual exploitation of minors, bribery, coercion, and forced labor. The self-described Pied Piper of R&B was also federally indicted on child pornography and obstruction charges in Illinois.
“Today’s guilty verdict forever brands R. Kelly as a predator, who used his fame and fortune to prey on the young, the vulnerable, and the voiceless for his own sexual gratification,” stated Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York on September 27.
Kasulis continued, “A predator who used his inner circle to ensnare underage teenage girls, and young women and men, for decades, in a sordid web of sex abuse, exploitation and degradation. To the victims in this case, your voices were heard, and justice was finally served. We hope that today’s verdict brings some measure of comfort and closure to the victims.”