Calling on iHeartRadio and Radio One to stop playing R. Kelly’s music following the release of Lifetime’s docu-series Surviving R. Kelly, Project Islamic Hope President Najee Ali and Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Monday, January 7, held a press conference in front of Los Angeles radio station Radio FREE 102.3 KJLH to urge them to stop playing songs produced by R. Kelly despite the money they make from it.
In their peaceful protest to lure iHeartRadio and Radio One to dismiss Kelly’s songs from their airwaves just as Radio Free has done, Ali lauded Stevie Wonder, owner of KJLH saying, “We are here at KJLH radio to commend Stevie Wonder, the owner of the station and station’s management for banning R. Kelly’s music on the airwaves.” He continued saying, “Now we want iHeartRadio and Radio One to follow suit. It is critical that urban radio stop enriching R. Kelly by playing his music, stop making him relevant and stop making money off the fact that they play R. Kelly’s music and are essentially partners in him preying on young black girls.”
Hutchinson also continued, “We are not talking censorship. We are not telling R. Kelly what he can sing and what he can play and what he should be producing. We are saying that when you boycott R. Kelly, when you boycott his music, you’re sending a powerful message. You have many radio stations that have enabled R. Kelly by buying his product. Essentially what you are doing is saying ‘yes’ to sexual molestation, to sexual perversion, to sexual pandering. In this case, I’m sorry, you cannot separate the message from the messenger.”
The Grammy winner has been in the news for alleged sexual molestation and assault against vulnerable women who have come into contact with him. The released docuseries Surviving R. Kelly features interviews with alleged survivors of Kelly’s mental, physical and sexual abuse, as well as discussions with former employees of the artist and high-profile figures such as John Legend and talk show host Wendy Williams.
Contrary to the purpose of its release, the docuseries broke records for Lifetime after grossing over 1.9 million viewers with its debut episodes. The executive producer of the series has disclosed the feedback of the series release as something ‘remarkable’.