R. Kelly finally convicted


Above: R. Kelly in the courtroom as his verdict is given to him, courtesy of NewsWeek

   Kelly has won many awards throughout his career, including three Grammys; however, Kelly did not bring his winning streak to the courtroom this Monday, September 27, when he finally lost the ongoing federal sex-trafficking trial against him. Despite Kelly’s persistent “not guilty” plea, in a unanimous jury ruling, he was found guilty of all nine counts he was accused of. The accusations included racketeering and violating the Mann Act, which criminalizes the transportation of “any woman or girl for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose.”

   For decades now, the singer, legally named Robert Sylvester Kelly, has been followed by a string of sexual assault and abuse accusations that have now come to a climax with the jury’s guilty verdict possibly sentencing him to life in prison. 

   Kelly’s career initially began in 1993 when he debuted his first studio album “12 Play,” but his big rise to fame came from his 1996 hit song “I Believe I Can Fly.” In the years between these two dates, the R&B singer had acquired his first scandal. In 1994, when Kelly was 27, he “illegally married 15-year-old singer Aaliyah, in a secret ceremony,” according to NBC News. However, months later the marriage was annulled “because Aaliyah was underage,” also according to NBC News

  Two years later, Kelly was hit with a $10,000,000 lawsuit by Tiffany Hawkins, a high school student, who claimed the pair began engaging in sexual activities when she was only 15 and he was 24. Nonetheless, the suit was later settled, but more of Kelly’s inappropriate behavior was brought to light in a child pornography trial. Fans became conflicted on whether or not to continue their support for the artist. 

   Some students at Broughton have listened to Kelly’s music and were fans of his until all this information came out. “Although he makes good music, he did commit those awful crimes,“ freshman James Paul stated.

   As the early 2000s turned into the late 2010s, Kelly was still facing accusations of all shapes and forms from multiple women. In 2019 he was charged with a total of 21 counts of sexual assault, heightening the pile of allegations against him. The documentary series, Surviving R. Kelly, that aired on Netflix and Hulu further amplified the scrutiny Kelly has been receiving from the public. The series goes in-depth through the singer’s past leading up to the case. When it was released, the series was extremely popular among teens and young adults. 

   “I think his crimes are bad, but the fact that he was convicted of them is good.” said freshman Jackson Shade, who is familiar with the documentary.

   Kelly will be sentenced early next year on May 4. Support goes to the survivors who were strong enough to come forward and address the wrongdoings of a powerful man, who is now behind bars.