R&B; singer R. Kelly has a long history of abuse accusations and charges when it comes to violence against women and girls. This week, he was interviewed on CBS, sparking the iconic image of a calm, collected, clearly innocent man and a hysterical woman... oh wait.
The interview came shortly after Kelly was charged and arrested for criminal sexual abuse, a crime he has ten charges for, including several involving underage teenaged girls. He was charged with possession of child pornography in 2008, including a sex tape believed to feature him and a 13-year-old girl. He also has DNA evidence linking him to forcing an underage girl to perform oral sex on him.
The Lifetime docu-series "Surviving R. Kelly" was released earlier this year and several women came forward with accusations against Kelly of sexual abuse. In light of the documentary, his own daughter, Buku Abi, released a statement on Instagram calling him a "monster" and alluding to her own abuse suffered at his hands, saying, "I am well aware of who and what he is. I grew up in that house."
Should R. Kelly be convicted, he faces up to 70 years in prison. For now, though, he's choosing to stick with the same old tired narrative that all the women accusing him of abuse are lying, digging for publicity and that he is innocent, despite glaring evidence to the contrary.
At this point, it will be up to the judicial system to analyze the evidence. In a country where, out of 1000 rapists, 995 walk free, the odds sure seem to be in his favor. Take into account his wealth and status, and I'd be disappointed but not surprised if he gets away with this with little more than a slap on the wrist.
But the tides are changing. The #MeToo movement is making strides, and it's becoming harder and harder for abusers to continue to get away with their crimes. This could be another iconic case that ushers in a new era in which sexual violence, especially against children, will not be tolerated, and men who behave in such a way will not only not succeed, but will spend their lives in prison.
Convicting R. Kelly is the beginning and it is the middle and it will usher in the end. Minds are changing. Policies are changing. Laws are changing. Times are changing. And time's up for criminals like Robert Kelly, who deserve to rot in prison for the rest of their lives, leaving the people they've harmed safely out of reach.