R. Kelly has broken his silence nearly a year after his first sexual assault accuser went public with her story.
The “I’m a Flirt” performer posted a video on Instagram Sunday, April 29 apologizing to his fans in Chicago and “basically all over the world” where his shows were canceled. Kelly was scheduled to hit the stage at the UIC Pavilion Saturday, May 5; he’s due to perform in Greensboro, N.C. May 11.
“I don’t know why they canceled the show,” he says. “I’ve never heard of a show being canceled because of rumors, but I guess there’s a first time for everything. So I apologize to you guys and in the meantime, I’m going to try to get to the bottom line of it as far as my lawyers are concerned, and see exactly what happened and why I was canceled.”
In response, several fans gave their support to Kelz.
“They better not cancel that Greensboro show,” one wrote. “I love you Kelli since nickel on the needle baby.”
Another fan posted, “we still love u R. Kelly.”
“Keep doing your thing R.K.,” someone else said. “Don’t listen to the haters!”
Yet others wrote him off.
“U NEXT ..THROW AWAY THE KEY,” a commenter posted.
“He’s a pedophile why are y’all supporting him? 🤷♂️,” another asked.
“R… You need to get your head straight,” someone said.
Since accusations that the singer was running a sex cult in his Atlanta and Chicago homes emerged last year, the calls to boycott the singer’s music have grown tremendously. Things have culminated in a Time’s Up and #MuteRKelly campaign which exploded on Twitter Monday, April 30. It got the support of celebrities including Ava DuVernay, John Legend, Shonda Rhimes and Questlove to name a few.
In response, Kelly’s team issued a statement decrying it as a “lynching” of the “Trapped In the Closet” crooner.
“R. Kelly supports the pro-women goals of the Time’s Up movement,” the statement issued Monday to BuzzFeed News read. “We understand criticizing a famous artist is a good way to draw attention to those goals — and in this case, it is unjust and off-target.
“We fully support the rights of women to be empowered to make their own choices. Time’s Up has neglected to speak with any of the women who welcome R. Kelly’s support, and it has rushed to judgment without the facts. Soon it will become clear Mr. Kelly is the target of a greedy, conscious and malicious conspiracy to demean him, his family and the women with whom he spends his time.
“R. Kelly’s music is a part of American and African-American culture that should never —and will never — be silenced. Since America was born, Black men and women have been lynched for having sex or for being accused of it. We will vigorously resist this attempted public lynching of a Black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture.”