R. Kelly’s recent verdict was not a surprise to many, but some people still feel that the R&B singer was taken down for being a black man. One person who has been sympathetic to the singer’s plight is Chuck D, whose commentary seems to have made him public enemy number one in a literal sense.
On Tuesday night, Chuck D started a thread on Twitter in which he seemed to make excuses for the singer who has been accused of rape, sexual abuse, trafficking and having sexual contact with minors over a three-decade period starting in the 1990s.
He compared R. Kelly’s life to that of Ike Turner and Rick James. “Abused in his youth… an addict as a adult… Ike Turner served 18 months in prison.. Rick James did similar time,” he said in one tweet. “Ike came out a changed positive human being. How long should R Kelly spend in prison -and does a USA system give a man a chance for a man to change his world around?”
However, many of his followers were surprised at his comments as both Chuck and Public Enemy have been advocating for social justice over the last 40 years. However, he said his stance is “not a sympathetic question at all. Not the least.”
Many of his followers did not like the comparisons made to Turner and James, who both served time, but it was for drug-induced crimes. In 1989, Turner, who was the former husband (and also abuser) to singer Tina Turner, was sentenced to four years behind bars for cocaine possession. (He, however, was released early after serving only served 18 months).
On the other hand, “Mary Jane” singer James was given three years behind bars for kidnapping torturing two women during a crack cocaine-induced binge.
However, many felt that the cases of the artists were not comparable because Kelly’s abuse of women and girls and boys was over a period of time rather than under drugs.
He defended Kelly, who is looking at decades of time in jail and possibly spending the rest of his life behind bars.
“Twitter is cryptic where was people when every other song was revealing evidence of what was ok to program to black kids over radio?” Chuck D was used as an example when followers called him out. “All you gotta do is read the titles the past 25 years of black songs and you get clues. His labels & radio knew what they was feeding.”
He continued, “Mixing grown folk lifestyle with black youth was so endorsed financed 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,” he said.
Despite his legal troubles and reputation as a sexual predator who used people in his management and label to recruit underage girls for his sexual activities, the singer is still noted as one of the greatest of all times and as the “King of R&B.”
Kelly has an impressive sales record with 75 million records sold and is a three-time Grammy-winner who has written for the likes of Michael Jackson, JAY-Z, Nas, The Notorious B.I.G., and several others. His opportunities flourished despite the allegations of preying on black women over the decades.
Chuck D, however, questioned the involvement of other parties that enabled R.Kelly’s conduct.
“I’m stunned how this took this long and how the business machines around him are unidentifiable, and they also perpetuated the fanaticism of what he was,” Chuck D continued. “And masses hung on as the radio & BET played on. With support non stop. Allowing it to grow bigger.”
Its not a sympathetic question at all . Not the least.
— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) September 28, 2021
Mixing grown folk lifestyle with black youth was so endorsed financed 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 https://t.co/yGWrfHW2Cg
— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) September 28, 2021
He added, “answer is simple when you answer how long . If it’s 100 years then it’s the answer. If it’s execution or castration that’s [an] answer. I have deeper beef to all of the industry that fed this ‘aura’ to the 12-19 audiences targeted for 25 yrs as simply Urban but it’s another story,” he said.
Despite his position, the rapper faced criticism from his followers for his stance.
Chuck D has since coughed up an apology for his statement, saying, “JUST TO BE CLEAR, I’m not the R. Kelly fan here,” he wrote. “75 million sold somewhere & I ain’t got 1 of his songs. And his actions were criminal apologies if the wings of perception loomed beyond than the words on this slaveAPP. My clarity launch on my own RsTvapp.com Oct. 1.”
JUST TO BE CLEAR, I’m not the 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 than the words on this slaveApp. My clarity launches on my own https://t.co/NXDrLBaWCA Oct1
— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) September 29, 2021