The walls are closing in around R. Kelly—and any person or company involved with the singer—following the horrific revelations unearthed by the docuseries Surviving R. Kelly. Organizers, activists, and protestors gathered outside of Sony Music’s headquarters on Wednesday morning, demanding RCA and its parent label drop R. Kelly.
The protest was organized by members of #MuteRKelly, Black Women's Blueprint, Care2, Color of Change, CREDO, Girls for Gender Equity, NOW-NYC, and UltraViolet, who delivered petitions signed by more than 217,394 people demanding RCA Records break its contract with Kelly.
"Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly is an unignorable investigation into R. Kelly's decades of alleged sexual abuse of young black women and girls, and those in the music industry that have not only enabled him, but profited from him," the group wrote in a statement on the protest’s event page, announcing the "Rally to Protect Black Girls."
The protestors also presented Sony Music and RCA Records with a “Record Label of Shame” award.
"R. Kelly has been able to continue to prey on vulnerable black girls for so long because companies like RCA—his record label—provide him a revenue stream to maintain his sex trafficking operation and a veneer of public credibility,” the statement continues. “With the seriousness of these numerous allegations and their overwhelming credibility, it's past time for RCA and their parent company, Sony, to take a stand and drop R. Kelly from their record label. No company should be profiting from a man who physically, mentally, and sexually abuses black girls."
The label has yet to make any comments regarding the series or R. Kelly. RCA has reportedly halted any new music by Kelly from being released.
“We're here to say that as organizers, as people, as survivors, as people who love black women and girls, that we care about black women and girls. We're also here to say that any person, business and institution and anyone witnessing his abusive power but chose to turn the other way when it comes to protecting black women.... Today, RCA, your number is called,” Joanne N. Smith, president of Girls for Gender Equity, said during the protest per The Hollywood Reporter. “You must be accountable to us as an accomplice to sexual and domestic violence. You're accountable to our community and should not profit off the predation, exploitation and degradation of black women and girls. Now RCA, we read where you are quoted that you will not play anymore R. Kelly music. But we know that's just a ploy to wait until this all dies down. This is never going to died down. We're here and we're never leaving until you drop R. Kelly."
Kelly is facing not only scorned public opinion but also multiple police investigations in Georgia, Chicago, and New York.
Complex News attended the rally outside the Sony headquarters; you can view our coverage in the video up top.