Common admits that he failed to listen to the stories of women who were abused by R. Kelly, saying that he and the black community let his victims down by glossing over the many accusations against the singer.
In an interview with TMZ, Common shouldered his share of the blame for Kelly's continued success in spite of numerous stories of abuse. The Chicago native said that many people were willing to overlook Kelly's misdeeds to remain fans.
"I'm guilty of that too myself because I didn't stop and be like, 'Yo,' and speak against this," he said. "R. Kelly's from my hometown. At the end of the day, he's a human being. He has his issues and we see that, but I can't condone that and I shouldn't be allowing that to happen. We failed our community as black people."
"We failed as a community because we knew these things were happening," Common continued. "And instead of trying to be like, 'Yo. Let's go and try to resolve this situation and free these young ladies and stop this thing that's going on,' we were just like, 'Man, we rocking to the music.'"
Common is not the first Chicago musician to speak out against Kelly. In an old interview that was used in the Surviving R. Kelly series, Chance the Rapper admitted he regrets working with the R&B singer. He said that his hypersensitivity to the oppression of black men caused him to overlook the suffering of black women, particularly R. Kelly's accusers.
"We're programed to really be hypersensitive to black male oppression—it's just prevalent in all media. And when you see n***as getting beat up by the police, it's men," Chance said in the video. "Slavery, for a lot of people, they envision men in chains; but black women are, you know, exponentially a higher oppressed and violated group of people, like, just in comparison to the whole world. Maybe I didn't care because I didn't value the accusers' stories because they were black women."