I believe I can't fly
27 September 2021-
Disgraced R&B singer R. Kelly was found guilty of all charges that had been brought against him in his sex trafficking trial. Things are (slowly) moving in the right direction...
It happened: justice was served. Or, rather, justice is in the process of being served: the verdict in R. Kelly‘s sex trafficking case just became known today, and we will still have to wait a little for the sentence to be public. A lot, actually: R. Kelly’s punishment will not be announced until next May… No matter: after a 6-week long trial and a 2-day long deliberation period, the disgraced singer has formally been found guilty of several key counts he was being charged with. That would be 9 of them to be exact, including sex trafficking and racketeering. The message is clear.
This was not always the case, though, quite far from it. Like with all high profile cases of this nature, accusations had been formulated and rather compelling stories had been circulating about the man and his behavior for decades. But, much like with Michael Jackson or Bill Cosby before him, those allegations had not had any real consequences. Until 1) the #MeToo movement came along and forced every sexual accusation to be examined with much more care, 2) the 2019 documentary Surviving R. Kelly laid bare many (alleged) sordid details in the case. It was argued then — and confirmed later — that the singer had effectively organized his own child abuse ring, routinely assaulting sexually underage boys and girls as well as manipulating them as much as his celebrity status allowed. That one-two punch — finally — triggered a societal response to a problem that had so far largely been ignored.
Weeks after the first part of the R. Kelly documentary aired, the man had been charged with 10 counts of criminal sexual abuse in the State of Illinois. When those charges were dropped, new federal accusations were raised a few months later, this time totalling 18 counts of child sex abuse. After the Covid-19 pandemic slowed the process down and as the trial could finally start this summer, the time that had been lost prior to that moment was compensated by the swiftness of the actual proceedings. We sill still have to wait for sentencing, and the singer could face a lifetime in jail, but we already know it will be significant either way.
While many could argue that these developments unfold decades too late — and they would arguably be quite right to say that, one could also argue that it is always better late than never. The same argument goes for Michael Jackson, by the way: the man may have already passed on, and his contributions to music may be significantly greater than R. Kelly’s, the allegations — and documentaries — made against him over the decades remain. And they should call for a clearer resolution than the current status quo…
Image: France 24.