This weekend, the embattled artist is expected to take the stage at Mississippi Coliseum—a state-owned venue located in Jackson City. The gig has unsurprisingly sparked outrage among Kelly's most vocal critics, such as #MuteRKelly co-founder Oronike Odeleye, who is urging Mississippi officials to cancel the concert.
Odeleye explained her opposition in a letter sent to the Jackson City Council, the Mississippi Department of Agriculture, as well as local media outlets like the Clarion-Ledger. She questioned why officials would allow an accused sexual predator to use government-owned space for financial profit. Odeleye argued that the upcoming Kelly concert underscored racial biases in America, as reports involving black sex-abuse victims are commonly dismissed.
"Is there no morality clause outlining who the facility is rented out to?" Odeleye asks in the published letter. "Across the nation, women and men have called for the cancellation of R. Kelly's concerts ... rooted in public disgust for Kelly's use of sexual manipulation, abuse, harassment, and coercion of young black women. It is unacceptable that in a day and age where powerful men are able to lose their careers behind the sexual assault of white women, the abusers of black women still get carte blanche to profit from and keep committing their crimes unchecked."
She continued: "We want this concert canceled immediately! This is a slap in the face to sexual abuse victims and shows, once again, that you consider profit is more important than the safety and well being of young black women."
As pointed out by the Clarion-Ledger, Sunday's concert will include appearances by Keyshia Cole and Adina Howard; both were called out on the #MuteRKelly Twitter page:
Despite Odeleye's calls for the concert's cancelation, Mississippi State Fairgrounds Executive Director Steve Hutton told the Clarion-Ledger that the show will go on.
"The Mississippi Fair Commission is not hosting the event, but rather providing our public facility to a promoter who is hosting the event," Hutton said in a statement. "Being a public venue we don’t restrict the right of anyone to utilize our facilities."