#MuteRKelly: Activists Plan a Protest at Singer’s Detroit Show

Frank Franklin II/AP Images

As the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements wage on, the time when any accused sexual predator could get a pass is long gone. Any and everyone is being called out, including those who may have once been allowed to slide because of the love people have for their music.

You know, like R. Kelly.

The Detroit Free Press reports that activists are planning to protest Wednesday outside the Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit, where he is due to perform with Charlie Wilson as part of his Tale of Two Kings Tour.

The activists, who are using the hashtag #MuteRKelly, say that Kelly’s questionable history with sexual-misconduct allegations should preclude him from performing in the arena, which is partially taxpayer-funded. In their words, the stage is no place for predators.

Nicole Denson—lead organizer of the protest and associate director of Wayne County SAFE—told the Free Press: “Our city is still healing from thousands of untested rape kits. We’re No. 2 in human trafficking. How can we let someone who has sexual misconduct allegations … with young children, with young, black girls, perform here?”

Wayne County SAFE is a Detroit nonprofit that provides services to sexual assault survivors including rape-kit testing, counseling and legal advocacy.


“How can we let this happen in the #MeToo movement, when there are so many people being held accountable?” Denson asked. “How can we sit here and let R. Kelly perform here in our city? What does that say about how we value little black girls?”


R. Kelly has repeatedly denied all sexualmisconduct allegations against him, and in 2008, a jury acquitted him in a child-pornography case.

Last summer, there were reports that Kelly was running a sex cult in which women were being brainwashed and held against their will.


One woman whose family alleged that she was one of the captives in the supposed sex cult spoke on camera to TMZ and denied the claims. Many said that the young woman in the video appeared to be being coached by someone off camera.

Denson and Kalimah Johnson—founder and executive of Detroit’s SASHA Center, which also provides support and services for sexual assault survivors—have asked the Detroit City Council to oppose Kelly’s show. They have also asked the show’s promoter, New Day Entertainment, as well as local radio station 105.9 KIIS-FM (WDMK), to cancel the show.


While New Day Entertainment’s Quentin Perry declined to comment on the protest, he told the Free Press, “You know, what they’ve got against R. Kelly has nothing to do with us.”

Well, OK, then.

Share This Story

About the author

Monique Judge

News Editor for The Root. I said what I said. Period.