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A women's advocacy group is taking their R. Kelly protest to new heights.
On Friday, UltraViolet commissioned a plane to fly a protest message over Sony Music headquarters in Culver City, California. The banner read: "RCA/SONY: DROP SEXUAL PREDATOR R KELLY."
RCA, a subsidiary of Sony Music, has been Kelly's label throughout most of his solo career, and has been widely criticized for continuing to work with the artist despite his longstanding sexual abuse allegations. Many people have called on the music companies to finally cut ties with the 52-year-old, who was the focus of a recent six-part docuseries that detailed his alleged misconduct.
"It is long past time for RCA to dump R. Kelly and take a stand against abuse," Karin Roland, UltraViolet's chief campaigns officer, told Variety. "Their inaction is beyond shameful. RCA can no longer pretend that R. Kelly’s music can be separated from his violent actions. Kelly uses his fame, musical talent, fortune, and standing in the music industry to lure in and abuse young Black girls."
Roland goes on to say that some of Kelly's tracks, which were released under RCA, were "literally inspired" by his manipulation and abuse of young girls. She also states that the reason his alleged victims never received justice is because they were black.
"Kelly has been able to get away with his years of abuse precisely because his victims are young Black girls who face even more barriers to justice than their white peers," Roland said. "Sixty percent of Black women are sexually abused by age 18, but their abuse is written off because of harmful racial stereotypes that paint Black women and girls as more sexually promiscuous and aggressive than young white girls. We must believe and support Black survivors of sexual violence. It is time all of us work alongside the amazing Black women organizers calling out R. Kelly and his enablers to ensure justice."
As part of its efforts, UltraViolet has launched an online petition demanding RCA finally drop Kelly from its roster.
Roland also called out companies like Spotify for continuing to include the singer's work on their platforms. She insists these streaming sites are helping "normalize violence against women" and are effectively siding with predators rather than victims.
It's worth noting that in 2018, Spotify announced it was removing Kelly—and other accused sexual predators and abusers—from its platform, claiming the music was a violation of its "hateful conduct." Spotify, however, reversed its decision after many accused the company of censorship.