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Kelly has officially fallen from grace with the latest developments on his sex trafficking trial. The “I Believe I Can Fly” singer has been sentenced to life imprisonment following a guilty verdict. He was convicted of federal racketeering and sex trafficking charges for a decades-long scheme to recruit women and underaged girls for sex.
The singer is convicted on all nine counts against him, marking a victory for justice as it has finally been served. However, the question on everyone’s mind right now is, “Why did it take this long?” It has been known that the singer’s abuses began as early as the start of the 1990s when he was at the height of his R&B career.
A few possible explanations as to why justice took a rather slow burn is due to R. Kelly’s expansive network of enablers that surrounded him. He was connected to many people in the music industry who knew of his abusive behavior. Yet they were all complicit and never dared to intervene.
The government drew attention to what has been described as the “settlement factory” that kept R. Kelly’s accusers quiet, offering evidence of Mr. Kelly’s payments to women who made accusations in exchange for their silence. “When the payments wouldn’t be enough, he would use his henchmen to lodge threats and exact revenge. He would often blackmail women with nude photographs of themselves or embarrassing information,” said prosecutor Elizabeth Geddes in a closing argument.
Federal prosecutors also accused Mr. Kelly of paying witnesses not to cooperate with the authorities in the lead-up to his 2008 trial and acquittal. They said the singer let some witnesses know they could be “subject to physical harm” if they proceeded to testify. Much of the atrocities that R. Kelly had done are heavily documented in the documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly.”
The documentary sheds light on so many factors that might have come into play, causing justice to be served at a slow but blistering pace. It might have been the catalyst for the trial’s guilty verdict, which is a victory for all those involved.
One unfortunate factor that might have played into the lack of belief in the accusers undeniably involved their race. “I didn’t value the accusers’ stories because they were Black women,” Chance the Rapper, who is from R. Kelly’s hometown, Chicago, said during the “Surviving R. Kelly” documentary series.
Some of R. Kelly’s most dedicated supporters continue to believe that he is the victim of a larger, racist conspiracy to keep successful Black men from thriving, and that view was once more widespread in Black communities before his trial, experts noted.
The cultural climate has changed dramatically since the allegations against R. Kelly first began to surface. After the singer pleaded not guilty to the charges that led to his 2008 trial, he performed alongside children at a church in Chicago the same day. He was embraced by the congregation.
It might have taken a while, but justice has finally been served. In spite of everything that happened along the way, the verdict has been just and righteous, boosting the people’s confidence in the American justice system.