Let’s be honest, music festivals are getting more popular by the day. How can you hate an opportunity to see a good mash up of tried and true favorites, along with rising stars, for a reasonable price?
You can’t. That is unless the promoters decide to celebrate one of the most divisive figures in the music business. Then, you have a good reason to stand back and ask, “Why?”
Here’s a little background. This February, music lovers in Orange County, CA, will be gifted with the 1st annual Soulquarius music festival. A celebration of classic R&B (Erykah Badu, Brandy, Monica, Jon B.), ol’ school hip hop (The Pharcyde, DMX, Ja Rule & Ashanti) and current artists holding it down (The Internet, Willow Smith, BJ The Chicago Kid), Soulquarius has the potential to be an awesome. Personally, if I lived in/near Atlanta, I would buy a ticket without thinking twice.
At least I would’ve until I saw that R. Kelly is listed as one of the headliners.
Jamie Thompson felt the same way. So much so that she started a petition at Change.org demanding that R. Kelly is shown the door. Actually, let’s hear it straight from Jamie:
“I created the petition because R.Kelly is a vile serial abuser who should’ve been exiled from music ages ago. I’m tired of seeing abusers win and misogynoir going unchecked. His career still going strong echoes a reality innumerable Black girls, women and femmes carry every day, which is that this world does not care about nor value us,” Jamie explained.
“Plus, some people genuinely don’t know how sordid R.Kelly’s track record is so that was another driving force behind creating the petition. This is not about someone who had a tryst with his teenage protégé. The man is a full-on pedophile who has preyed on vulnerable Black girls for years.”
Personally, I don’t know what these promoters were thinking. There was a time when I was a huge fan of R. Kelly. I’m talking about when he was in Public Announcement, way back in the day. But, then he married Aaliyah, his 15-year-old “protégé.” Are you kidding me? Once that memorable issue of Vibe magazine dropped, which had a copy of the marriage certificate along with some damning evidence, I assumed his career was over. Shoot, I walked away.
He has managed to continue his career with sympathetic fans insisting on putting blame on the victims, or the justice system, or even claiming that it’s all a witch hunt. I swear, he’s like that one family member who everyone knows is stealing, but continues to give him “one more chance.” To them, I say, “Stop!” This is the perfect example of what rape culture is, and why nothing changes.
Thankfully, Jamie’s petition has been receiving supportive responses mostly from Black women who are also tired of this foolishness and want to help get the word out.
The sad part of all this? As Jamie said, “Even if we succeed in getting the venue to drop R.Kelly it’s a bittersweet victory. Why does someone have to make a petition in the first place? Why isn’t the abuse of Black girls ever enough?”
Want to add your voice to Jamie’s petition? Just go here
What's Your Reaction?
Kristin is just another former Journalism student that ended up working in an industry that has NOTHING to do with her major, but it gives her enough time, and money, to dive into her first love — music.
The festival is happening in Orange County, CA. Not Atlanta. Agree with all you said though.
Thank you! I misread the information sent to me — will update now.
Our ‘Christian’ capacity to forgive the Poisonous and Debilitating Agents within the black community is killing us!!!