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NAJEE’S NOTES: Radio stations are asked to boycott R. Kelly’s music

Stevie Wonder, owner of KJLH Radio Station, along with station management Karen Slade and Aisha Morris continue to uplift our women and community and that should come as no surprise to anyone.

For several months, KJLH Radio has banned R. Kelly, the disgraced singer, from its airwaves. Kelly has been the subject of numerous allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct, often with underage women.

In 2002 he was indicted on 21 counts of child pornography. He pleaded not guilty and was acquitted of all charges in 2008. But just because you were found not guilty in court doesn’t mean you didn’t do it.

Kelly secretly married the late R&B singer Aaliyah when she was only 15 years old at the Sheraton Gateway Suites in Rosemont, Illinois on July 31, 1994. They both lied on the marriage license, which was filed by the state of Illinois.

The national outcry against Kelly was reignited last week with a six-part docuseries called “Surviving R. Kelly,” which aired on the cable network Lifetime. The docuseries has been one of the hottest topics across black America and has dominated various social media outlets from Facebook to Twitter. Everyone has been discussing R. Kelly and most of the comments which I have read view Kelly with disgust and disdain.

In full disclosure, I was one of the first activists who spoke out against R. Kelly 18 years ago after a sex tape of a 14-year-old girl and Kelly was released. In the tape, a man can be seen urinating in a child’s face. Kelly has always denied that he was the man in the tape and implicated his brother.

I, along with many others, didn’t believe that and began organizing protests against Kelly. I led protests at his concerts in Los Angeles and outside the Chicago courthouse where he stood trial in June 2008 and have personally boycotted his music since then.

That’s why I was with Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson and other civil rights leaders Jan. 7 for a press conference outside of KJLH Radio Station in Inglewood, publicly thanking station management for boycotting R. Kelly’s music for the last several months.

The goal of the press conference was larger than just saying thank you to KJLH. The objective was to publicly shame the larger radio stations such as i Heart Radio and Radio One and all the stations who play R. Kelly’s music across the nation. Our call was for those stations to follow KJLH Radio’s lead and stop playing R. Kelly music. Our slogan is “No profit in sexual victimization.”

Kelly has a long and notorious history as a sexual predator of underage girls. He has publicly and brazenly flaunted this sexual victimization of women. Yet, he still makes millions and enjoys unprecedented fame and celebrity because radio stations continue to play and fans continue to buy his music. This sends the horrible message that there is no real penalty in the music and entertainment marketplace for sexual victimization.

I Heart Radio, Radio One and other urban stations that continue playing R. Kelly’s music are enablers to a serial child molester. The stations who play his music are making a financial profit and should choose to support the victims of sexual abuse over money.

The day after our press conference, which received national coverage, two prominent Dallas radio stations announced in a media statement that they had also banned R. Kelly music. The urban format stations KRNB and K104 confirmed in segments on-air that they will never again spin Kelly’s songs.

“Smooth R&B 105.7 and K104 made the decision to drop R. Kelly’s music from our playlists due to the outpouring of concern from our listeners regarding Kelly’s alleged sexual assaults of underage girls,” Service Broadcasting Corporation explained in a statement.

KRNB host Claudia Jordan went into greater detail during her morning show.

“Up against the background of what we know…. Where there were girls locked up in rooms and urinating in buckets and held against their will, even if they were over 18, [Kelly’s music] just has a different meaning now,” Complex reports.

Kelly is now reportedly under criminal investigation in Georgia in the wake of explosive accusations made in the six-hour Lifetime series. A number of women who appeared in the program accused Kelly of mental, physical and sexual abuse, though the artist’s legal reps countered that the documentary contained false allegations.

On a personal note I want to thank all the Chicago activists, led by Bamani Obadele and Dwight Taylor of my hometown of Gary, Indiana, for speaking out first against Kelly 18 years ago when we were all mocked and ridiculed by Kelly supporters. We fought side by side protesting Kelly and trying to get him off the airwaves with no success. Eighteen years later our leadership is finally paying off as everyone is now saying Mute R. Kelly.

In other community news, the nation’s criminal defense lawyers presented Stevie Wonder with the Champion of Justice Award at the association’s Race Matters Conference. Wonder, received the Champion of Justice Award Jan. 10 at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles.

“Stevie Wonder has a long history of civic and humanitarian engagement, contributions and leadership, including his work that helped make Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a national holiday, as well as his use of his extraordinary musical talent and popularity to raise funds for humanitarian aid for Africa as well as for AIDS-related charities,” said Drew Findling, president of the National Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. “Over the years, Stevie Wonder has supported children in need, the disabled, the sick, the poor and the disenfranchised, and so many more. Through his generosity and leadership, he has shown the world that whatever talents and skills each of us have, we can use them to fix a broken world that is in desperate need of repair and make it a better place for everyone.”

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