Latin Grammys 2018

R. Kelly Set to Perform in North Carolina Despite Protests

Frank Micelotta/Invision/AP
R. Kelly performs at the BET Awards at the Nokia Theatre on June 30, 2013 in Los Angeles. 

R. Kelly is going on with his concert in North Carolina Friday (May 11), rejecting calls from protesters to cancel his appearance over longstanding allegations of sexual misconduct. The concert was scheduled for Friday (May 11) at the Greensboro Coliseum, where protesters will also appear outside the arena to express their displeasure with coliseum officials for not calling off the performance.

A letter released earlier this week and signed by a coalition of women’s groups connected to the #MuteRKelly movement cited what it called Kelly’s “long term history of sexual misconduct.”

“The coliseum has neglected to consider the Black women and girls that largely make up the community that relies on them for engagement and entertainment,” the letter said. Kelly, who was acquitted in 2008 of child pornography charges, denies the allegations. The R&B superstar’s management team noted this week that he faces no current criminal charges. Kelly’s management said late Wednesday that he’s looking forward to the North Carolina concert.

A coliseum official declined comment on the letter.

“This has struck a nerve in the community,” said Brandi Collins-Calhoun, director of reproductive and maternal health for the YMCA of Greensboro, one of the groups that signed the letter.

Prior to Greensboro, Kelly was scheduled to be among the performers at a May 5 concert in Chicago, but was dropped as protests arose. He issued a statement on YouTube saying he didn’t know why the show was canceled.

On the heels of losing the Chicago appearance and calls for the next concert to be canceled, the music streaming service Spotify announced Thursday it was removing Kelly’s music from its curated playlists. It cited its new policy on hateful content and conduct in making the move.

A company representative said Kelly’s music is no longer available on the streaming service’s owned and operated playlists and algorithmic recommendations. While his music will still be available to those who search for it, Spotify will not promote it.

Kelly’s management protested the move in a statement to The Associated Press.

“R. Kelly never has been accused of hate, and the lyrics he writes express love and desire,” the statement read. “Mr. Kelly for 30 years has sung songs about his love and passion for women. He is innocent of the false and hurtful accusations in the ongoing smear campaign against him, waged by enemies seeking a payoff. He never has been convicted of a crime, nor does he have any pending criminal charges against him.”