Baton Rouge has rescinded R. Kelly’s honorary key to the city after the R&B singer was found guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking charges, as well as other offenses, earlier this week. According to TMZ, Denise Marcelle, a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives, said she plans to strip Kelly of the honor after learning of his conviction.
Marcelle initially granted Kelly the honorary plaque and key in February of 2013, when she was a Baton Rouge Metro Council member. While there were allegations of sexual misconduct levied against the “Ignition (Remix)” singer at the time, Marcelle said she offered him the key because he was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008. However, Marcelle told TMZ she now regrets bestowing the honor to Kelly in the first place.
As reported by REVOLT, a jury convicted Kelly on Monday (Sept. 27) of one count of racketeering; 14 underlying acts including sexual exploitation of a child, bribery, kidnapping and sex trafficking; and eight counts of violating the Mann Act, a sex trafficking law that prohibits transporting anyone across state lines “for any immoral purpose.”
“Of all the predators I have pursued, however, Mr. Kelly is the worst,” prosecuting attorney Gloria Allred said at the time. “R. Kelly thought he could get away with this, but he didn’t. I am very proud of my clients who agreed to testify in this case.”
After years of allegations, “Surviving R. Kelly” and lengthy criminal proceedings, many people, including Kelly’s former accusers and fellow artists, had thoughts to share about the verdict. As reported, Chuck D was one celebrity to comment on the situation and received backlash after tweeting, “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?”
However, after the Public Enemy rapper’s followers accused him of being too sympathetic toward Kelly, Chuck D clarified his stance.
“Mixing grown folk lifestyle with Black youth was so endorsed, financed [and] perpetuated… Black audiences were abused while 25yrs poppin’ champagne in the sandbox,” he wrote. “The boundaries were sloppy w head nods. That dude & others gave clues that the gatekeepers ignored.”