Robert Sylvester Kelly, also known as R. Kelly was recently convicted on nine federal criminal counts. He was found guilty of racketeering-related charges, sexual exploitation of children, forced labor, and Mann Act violations.
After news of the conviction broke, social media users shared their thoughts on the singer facing a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and up to life in prison. Hip Hop legend Chuck D was among the people who commented on the subject.
“Abused in his youth, an addict as an adult. Ike Turner served 18 months in prison. Rick James did similar times. Ike came out a changed positive human being. How long should R. Kelly spend in prison – and does the USA system give a man a chance for a man to change his world around?” the Hip-Hop icon tweeted on Tuesday.
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In a follow-up tweet, the rapper noted that his post was “not a sympathetic question at all. Not the least.”
He also alleged that the music industry might have a hand in Kelly’s behavior. “Mixing grown folk lifestyle with black youth was so endorsed, financed and perpetuated as so urban cool by radio. Black audiences were abused while 25yrs poppin champagne in the sandbox. The boundaries were sloppy w head nods. That dude & others gave clues that the gatekeepers ignored.”
Chuck D’s statement was met with backlash as some critics took the rapper’s tweets seriously. It was presumed that he was discussing redemption for a convicted sex criminal that hasn’t been sentenced yet.
“SNY” reporter, Chris Williamson replied to Chuck D’s tweet saying, “Asking this sincerely my brotha, what made you feel this was necessary to tweet out given all that we know about Robert’s disgusting crimes and his lack of remorse?”
Chuck D answered, “You could take 80% of endorsed financed culture hijacked by the urban excuses. Adults have their world but the urban radio stations BET clearly stated their target audiences across the USA was 12-19 Black youth. 1990-2015. Check the songs and what was inside. For 25 years.”
Detroit Metro Times editor, Alex Washington, also tweeted, “R. Kelly married an underage girl in 1995 when he was a 27-year-old man. It is the year of our Lord two thousand and twenty-one. His pattern continued and worsened and you want us to give him a chance for change? This is the hill you want to die on?”
The Rapper Tweets An Apology
Multiple people pointed out that Kelly was allegedly engaging in sexual activities with underage girls as far back as the 1990s and should be held accountable for the pain he caused his victims.
The negative reactions to Chuck D’s tweet about Kelly possibly being rehabilitated caused the 61-year-old rapper to return to Twitter six hours later to offer an apology.
“Just to be clear, I’m not an R. Kelly fan here. 75 million sold somewhere & I ain’t got 1 of his songs. And his actions were criminal, my apologies if the wings of perception loomed beyond words on this slave App,” Chuck D apologized.
After the apology, a user compared the apology with Phylicia Rashad’s apology. As one might remember, she was accused of supporting Bill Cosby after it was announced in June that her rape conviction had been overturned because of her expertise on behalf of the prosecutor. “It sounds like @Phylicia Rashad is commenting on @BillCosby. R. Kelly had enough time and resources to get the help he needed to make the change. So if it’s the long sentence he needs, that’s it!”
R. Kelly Will Still Face More Federal Charges
Kelly was found guilty of racketeering and predicate acts in New York, including illegal sex with minors, sexual exploitation of minors, bribery, coercion, and forced labor. The R&B singer was also federally indicted on child pornography and obstruction charges in Illinois.
“Today’s guilty verdict forever brands R. Kelly as a predator, who used his fame and fortune to prey on the young, the vulnerable, and the voiceless for his own sexual gratification,” stated Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
Kasulis continued, “A predator who used his inner circle to ensnare underage teenage girls, and young women and men, for decades, in a sordid web of sex abuse, exploitation and degradation. To the victims in this case, your voices were heard, and justice was finally served. We hope that today’s verdict brings some measure of comfort and closure to the victims.”
Who Is Chuck D?
Carlton Douglas Ridenhour, known professionally as Chuck D, is an American rapper. As the leader of the rap group Public Enemy, which he co-founded in 1985 with Flavor Flav, Chuck D helped create politically and socially conscious hip hop music in the mid-1980s.
Per The Source, he was ranked No. 12 on their list of the Top 50 Hip-Hop Lyricists of All Time.
Ridenhour was born on August 1, 1960, on Long Island, New York. He started to write rhymes after the New York City blackout of 1977.
After Chuck D attended W. Tresper Clarke High School, he went to Adelphi University on Long Island to study graphic design, where he met William Drayton (Flavor Flav). He received a B.F.A. from Adelphi in 1984 and later received an honorary doctorate from Adelphi in 2013.