R. Kelly axed from Chicago Love Jam Concert after #MuteRKelly campaign
Amid a growing chorus of protests, embattled singer R. Kelly is no longer on the lineup of the upcoming Love Jam 2018 at the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion.
After the public bombarded UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis with calls to cancel the R&B show that included Kelly, who comes with a long history of sexual misconduct allegations, Ticketmaster posted on its website that Kelly would not appear. The show also includes XScap3, K. Michelle and Lyfe Jennings.
“Please note R. Kelly is no longer performing,” read a short statement on the Ticketmaster site.
Chicago is the hometown of the 51-year-old, whose given name is Robert Sylvester Kelly.
The singer’s team told the Chicago Tribune in an email that it knew nothing about a change.
“We have received no official notice of any changes in plans for the May 5 concert, and R. Kelly has been looking forward to performing for his fans in his hometown.”
Kelly’s removal from the bill comes after growing protests aimed at Amiridis, the Tribune reported.
The school would not confirm to the news organization that Kelly is off the lineup, and Ameridis’ office would not comment.
Earlier this week, the head of a women’s advocacy organization at UIC posted a letter on Facebook calling for the show’s cancellation.
“To host the concert at UIC is to condone the harm that he has done to African-American women and girls, create a hostile work environment for black women who work, study and live at UIC,” read the letter posted by Natalie Bennett, director of the Women’s Leadership and Resource Center at UIC, and written in conjunction with Scheherazade Tillett, executive director of A Long Walk Home, a Chicago nonprofit that battles violence against women and girls.
The campus was “quite taken aback” to learn R. Kelly would be performing, Bennett told the Tribune.
“After a series of conversations with other faculty and staff at UIC, we thought it was best to put our questions and critiques into writing and offer it to the chancellor and have him respond,” the news organization quoted her as saying.
During a 2008 trial for child pornography, Cook County, Ill., prosecutors offered up a videotape that showed Kelly having sex with a girl whose age was estimated at 13 or 14. Kelly was acquitted in that trial.
Since a BuzzFeed report last summer in which parents alleged Kelly was holding their daughters in a cult, the hashtag #MuteRKelly has circulated across social media. Oronike Odeleye, managing director of an artists’ collaborative, and activist Kenyette Barnes launched the hashtag, the Tribune reported.
The Grio reported earlier in April that three of Kelly’s top team members had quit and more were planning on abandoning him.