Concertgoers are up in arms after learning suspected statutory rapist R. Kelly will headline the 2017 Soulquarius Festival. In addition to social media’s massive request he be removed from the lineup, there’s also a Change.org petition that asks the same of the festival.
“The Observatory venue of Orange County released an awesome lineup for their SOULQUARIUS event February 18th, with the exception of R.Kelly,” the petition reads. “Despite an endless flood of abuse allegations and widespread knowledge of his notorious “romance” with the late singer Aaliyah, who was age 15 to his 27 years, Kelly has maintained a relatively successful career. It’s this sort of nonchalance and casual embrace of abusers that rests at the fulcrum of rape culture, violence against women, and in this case, misogynoir. 2017 is around the corner and many of us still have to look on in disgust as a proven predator, rapist, and serial abuser of young Black girls and women remains embraced in the world of music. Stop booking this man. Stop supporting this man. There’s great power in having a voice. Let’s send a message that the music is not “separate” and the abuse of girls and women is *never* okay, no matter who you are or how many timeless ballads you’ve contributed to the world.”
Besides R. Kelly, Erykah Badu, Ja Rule and Ashanti, Jhene Aiko, The Dream, DMX, Mya, and more are all slated to perform for what’s gearing up to be a truly A-list R&B show.
Check out some responses to the 2017 Soulquarius lineup below and if you’re so inclined, sign the petition against R. Kelly’s appearance here. The event takes place in Orange County, California on February 18th.