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WOC, the Women of Color Within Time’s Up, Join R. Kelly Boycott

Over the last six months, Time’s Up has taken over red carpets and the conversation in Hollywood to empower women and fight for gender equality. On Monday, WOC, the women of color branch within Time’s Up, announced a new initiative aimed at R. Kelly.

In a statement, WOC wrote that, “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,” followed by the announcement that Time’s Up will be joining the existing online campaign #MuteRKelly. It also called upon RCA Records, Spotify, Apple Music, Ticketmaster and the Greensboro Coliseum in North Carolina, where Kelly is scheduled to perform in May, to “join us and insist on safety and dignity for women of all kinds.” The organization’s statement reads:

• RCA Records – The venerable music label currently produces and distributes R. Kelly’s music;
• Ticketmaster – The popular ticketing system is currently issuing tickets for R. Kelly’s show on May 11;
• Spotify and Apple Music – The popular streaming platforms currently monetizing R. Kelly’s music;
• Greensboro Coliseum Complex – The venue is currently hosting an R. Kelly concert on May 11.

Kelly has a long history of alleged misconduct with underaged women, including an annulled marriage to singer Aaliyah when she was 15; a long trial centering around a video allegedly depicting him having sex with an underaged women for which he was ultimately acquitted; and multiple accusations in recent months that he is running an “abusive sex cult” and essentially imprisoning women in his homes in Atlanta and Chicago.

On Monday morning John Legend and director Ava DuVernay had tweeted their support.

“The scars of history make certain that we are not interested in persecuting anyone without just cause,” the statement reads. “With that said, we demand appropriate investigations and inquiries into the allegations of R. Kelly’s abuse made by women of color and their families for over two decades now. And we declare with great vigilance and a united voice to anyone who wants to silence us – their time is up.”

The group also mentioned Cosby in its statement, who was recently found guilty in his sexual assault retrial of aggravated indecent assault brought against him by Andrea Constand. “The recent court decision against Bill Cosby is one step towards addressing these ills but it is just a start. We call on people everywhere to join with us to insist on a world in which women of all kinds can pursue their dreams free from sexual assault, abuse and predatory behavior,” WOC said.

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