Brief History

Robert Sylvester Kelly
(born January 8, 1967)  is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and former professional basketball player. A native of Chicago, Kelly began performing during the late 1980s and debuted in 1992 with the group Public Announcement. In 1993, Kelly went solo with the album 12 Play. He is known for a collection of major hit singles including “Bump N’ Grind”, “Your Body’s Callin'”, “I Believe I Can Fly”. In 1998, Kelly won three Grammy Awards for “I Believe I Can Fly”. His distinctive sound and style have influenced numerous hip hop and contemporary R&B; artists. Kelly became the first musician to play professional basketball when he was signed in 1997.

 In 1996, Kelly was nominated for a Grammy for writing Michael Jackson’s song “You Are Not Alone”.

Sex Scandal, Allegation And Controversies

Since the 1990s, Kelly has been the subject of numerous allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct, often with underage women. In 2002 he was indicted on 21 counts of child pornography;  he pleaded not guilty and was acquitted of all charges in 2008.
According to Vibe and the Chicago Sun-Times, 27-year-old Kelly and a then 15-year-old singer protege Aaliyah were illegally married in a secret wedding ceremony on August 31, 1994 in Cook County conducted by Reverend Nathan J. Edmond from Chicago;  Kelly’s tour manager, Demetrius Smith, said in 2018 that he facilitated the wedding by getting identification for Aaliyah representing her age as 18.

2012 Child pornography allegations

On February 3, 2002, a video surfaced allegedly showing Kelly engaging in sex with, and urinating on, an underage girl. The story, which was released by an unknown source, was sent to the Chicago Sun-Times, the newspaper that broke the story on February 8, 2002.  This news surfaced as Kelly was to perform at the opening ceremony of the 2002 Winter Olympics. In interviews with WMAQ television of Chicago and MTV News, Kelly said that he was not the man in the video.  In June 2002, Kelly was indicted in Chicago on 21 counts of child pornography. That same month, Kelly was apprehended by Miami Police Department on a Chicago arrest warrant, and Polk CountySheriff’s Office conducted a search of Kelly’s residence in Davenport, Florida. During the search, officers recovered 12 images of an alleged underage girl on a digital camera – wrapped in a towel in a duffel bag – which allegedly depicted Kelly “involved in sexual conduct with the female minor.”  According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the girl in the images obtained from Kelly’s Florida home also appears in the videotape which got Kelly indicted in Chicago.  Kelly was arrested in January 2003 on those charges. In March 2004, these charges were dropped due to a lack of probable cause for the search warrants.


After a number of delays, on October 27, 2006, a Cook County, Illinois court hearing for pre-trial motions set the date of the actual trial to February 7, 2007. On the date of the trial, Kelly’s lawyer informed the court that his client was unable to attend because he was “undergoing surgery for a burst appendix”. He also announced that Kelly was “in good condition and was expected to be released from the hospital later in the day.” Kelly’s attorney stated that Kelly (who pleaded not guilty) would be in attendance on the next trial date of February 21, 2007.  It had previously been announced by the court that the videotape that allegedly showed Kelly performing sex acts with an underage woman would be publicly shown as evidence in the trial. The trial, however, was delayed due to disputes over when the tape was made and to give medical recuperation time to the sitting judge following a fall resulting in broken bones. Later the case was set for a September 17 date. It took more than six months for the case to go to trial. Jury selection began on May 9, 2008, and the trial officially started on May 20 with opening statements from the prosecution and defense. After two weeks, the prosecution’s case wrapped on June 3 while the defense’s wrapped on June 9. After less than a day of deliberations, on June 13, a Chicago jury found Kelly not guilty of all 14 counts.

2017 Sex cult and STD allegations

Jim DeRogatis reported for BuzzFeed News on July 17, 2017, that Kelly was accused by three sets of parents of holding their daughters in an “abusive cult”  Kelly and the alleged victims deny the allegations. 


Kelly was again accused of misconduct on April 17, 2018, by a former partner of his who claimed that Kelly “intentionally” infected her with a sexually transmitted disease. A representative for Kelly stated that he “categorically denies all claims and allegations”.

The Time’s Up Women of Color movement called for a boycott of Kelly’s music in May 2018 and performances over the many allegations against him. The boycott was accompanied by a social media campaign called #MuteRKelly. In response, his management said that Kelly supports the movement in principle, but targeting him was “the attempted lynching of a black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture”.
The music streaming service Spotify announced on May 10 that it was going to stop promoting or recommending music by R. Kelly and XXXTentacion. Spotify stated, “We don’t censor content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, but we want our editorial decisions—what we choose to program—to reflect our values.”  Two days later, Apple Music and Pandora also announced that they will no longer be featuring or promoting R. Kelly’s music.

2019 Surviving R. Kelly

In 2019, an American pay television channel “Lifetime” aired a six-part documentary series detailing sexual abuse and misconduct allegations against Kelly.  According to a report by TMZ, Kelly plans to take legal action against the creators of the series. It also reported that sources close to Kelly say he plans to launch a website called, in an attempt to discredit his accusers. On January 7, TMZ discovered that a Facebook page had been established to support Kelly—it was quickly taken down by Facebook, with a spokesperson telling TMZ that it “violated our Community Standards” and that Facebook would not “tolerate bullying or sharing other’s private contact information.”