Can the R Kelly verdict lead to a shift in the music industry?

Can the R Kelly verdict lead to a shift in the music industry?

After years of sexual abuse allegations, the R&B singer has finally had to face punishment for his crimes but will a wider reckoning follow?

Activist Oronike Odeleye was at her desk, knee-deep in another 12-hour day of working from home, when the news hit. A friend called. The R&B performer and producer R Kelly had been found guilty on all nine counts in his sex trafficking case, he said. Initially, Odeleye felt “a bit stunned, but also really relieved”, she says, thinking first of the survivors who had bravely shared their testimony.

Together with Kenyette Tisha Barnes, Odeleye had founded the #MuteRKelly movement in 2017. The goal: a financial boycott of Kelly, given the years of child sexual abuse and sexual misconduct allegations made against the star. At the time, she had hoped to soon “step in the name of justice at his trial”. On Monday 27 September, that day arrived. But as the week wore on, she wasn’t convinced the industry was ready to examine itself more closely.

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