In the wake of R. Kelly being found guilty on charges of sex trafficking in Brooklyn on Tuesday (September 28th), many took to social media to express their opinions about the verdict & support the victims. For Chuck D, his social media posting sparked a tremendous backlash causing him to issue a clarification hours later.
The frontman of the iconic group Public Enemy went on Twitter after the disgraced singer’s conviction for nine charges after a six-week trial that recounted many of his putrid crimes against young Black girls and boys including the late singer Aaliyah. In his initial post, Chuck D mused about Kelly citing how he was “abused in his youth” and “an addict as a adult”. He went on to bring up two infamous examples in Ike Turner and Rick James as those who served time in prison for abusing women and spoke about their leaving as changed individuals. “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?”, he asked, apparently trying to raise a point about the penal system and what a possible life sentence for Kelly would mean in terms of his possible rehabilitation. It fell woefully flat.
Chuck D immediately clarified in a follow-up tweet stating It’s not a sympathetic question at all. Not the least.”, but it wasn’t enough to dispel many on the platform from thinking he was sympathetic to Kelly. The replies were swift and full of disappointment.
He did respond to a few tweets directly challenging his position that seemed to lack any support for those numerous victims that R. Kelly abused for decades.
The rapper followed up those tweets with another one to clarify his position. “Just to be clear, I’m not a fan here. 75 million sold somewhere and I aint got one of his songs.”, he began. “My apologies if the wings of perception loomed beyond than the words on this slaveApp,” he continued, referring to Twitter. He ended that by stating that he would provide more clarity on a new social media platform he will be launching this coming Friday (October 1st).