R. Kelly No Longer Part of Chicago ‘Love Jam,’ Management Says Singer Victim of ‘Attempted Public Lynching’
Scott Legato / Getty Images – R. Kelly
R. Kelly wraps his recent tour at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit Feb. 21.
R. Kelly, who seems to be followed by protests before each show following accusations of operating a type of sex cult, is no longer taking part in a “Love Jam” concert at Chicago’s UIC Pavilion May 5, with Ticketmaster advising, “Please note, R. Kelly is no longer performing.”
Love Jam 2018 still includes Xscap3, K. Michelle, and Lyfe Jennings according to the event listing, although R Kelly’s social media still lists him as appearing at the 9,500-capacity venue located at the University of Illinois, Chicago.
The women of color branch within the #TimesUp movement has said it will join the #MuteRKelly campaign, with WOC releasing a statement saying: “For too long, our community has ignored our pain. The pain we bear is a burden that too many women of color have had to bear for centuries. The wounds run deep.” It calls on Ticketmaster, Spotify, RCA Records, Apple Music and Greensboro Coliseum in North Carolina to boycott the singer.
In response, a statement from R. Kelly’s management was provided to Variety:
“Kelly supports the pro-women goals of the Time’s Up movement. We understand criticizing a famous artist is a good way to draw attention to those goals — and in this case, it is unjust and off-target.
“We fully support the rights of women to be empowered to make their own choices. Time’s Up has neglected to speak with any of the women who welcome R. Kelly’s support, and it has rushed to judgment without the facts. Soon it will become clear Mr. Kelly is the target of a greedy, conscious and malicious conspiracy to demean him, his family and the women with whom he spends his time.
“Kelly’s music is a part of American and African-American culture that should never—and will never — be silenced. Since America was born, black men and women have been lynched for having sex or for being accused of it. We will vigorously resist this attempted public lynching of a black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture.”
Pollstar has reached out to representatives for R Kelly, who is a Chicago native.
The apparent Love Jam cancellation comes amid continued protests of R Kelly’s alleged sexual misconduct, which already saw a handful of dates canceled abruptly last summer, including concerts in Los Angeles, Dallas, New Orleans, Memphis and Baton Rouge.
The Memphis date was canceled “due to unforeseen circumstances” although R Kelly’s camp blamed the promoter.
That wave of cancellations came after former Chicago Sun-Times reporter Jim DeRogatis reported extensive accusations that the singer held holding women against their will in a “cult”-like atmosphere.
Just since February, outlets including Rolling Stone have reported Kelly’s longtime attorney, publicist and assistant leaving the artist.
A 19-year-old woman on April 9 reportedly filed a criminal complaint against R. Kelly, claiming that he knowingly and intentionally gave her a sexually transmitted disease, with an attorney for the woman saying the offenses occurred as the woman was being “groomed to join Kelly’s sex cult.”
A show scheduled for April 27 at Blaisdell Center in Hawaii was also canceled a few weeks ago, although a representative for Kelly told Pollstar that was not due to anything on the artist side. Promoters did not respond to request for comment regarding that date.
Boxoffice reports submitted to Pollstar since the DeRogatis story have been a mixed bag, with shows like Aug. 5 at Chene Park Amphitheatre in Detroit selling out 6,000 tickets but Oak Mountain Theatre in Pelham, Ala., selling 3,631 tickets Aug. 26. However, Kelly’s tour history shows similar numbers in recent years for headline appearances, making it hard to draw any conclusions of the allegations directly affecting ticket sales — other than shows canceled altogether, of course.
Kelly was also accused, although acquitted, of charges related to child pornography in 2008.