The University of Illinois in Chicago says their “Love Jam" concert will go on as scheduled, but Chicago R & B singer R. Kelly will not be performing. The news comes after controversy sparked regarding his history of sexual misconduct.
A letter was sent to the chancellor of UIC, requesting the concert be cancelled, stating, “To host the concert at UIC is to condone the harm that he has done to African American women and girls, create a hostile work environment for Black women who work, study and live at UIC, and promotes rape culture."
The performance, originally scheduled for May 5 as part of the 2018 “Pre-Mother’s Day Love Jam," would have been the R&B legend’s first hometown concert since a BuzzFeed News report last July alleged he has kept women in his Chicago and Atlanta homes, controlling “every aspect of their lives" in a sexually abusive “cult.”
An open letter attached to the petition cited “overwhelming public evidence of [Kelly’s] history of sexual misconduct," for which allegations stem back to the 1990s.
Natalie Bennett, director of the Women’s Leadership and Resource Center at UIC, co-wrote the open letter with the intention to deliver it to UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis once it reached 1,500 signatures. She told NBC 5 Friday afternoon that UIC being involved with Kelly “in any way" was contradictory to the school’s values of diversity, equity, and inclusivity.
“We really want to send a message to not just him, but also the university that we … want survivor’s voices to be taken seriously," Bennett said.
The UIC Women’s Leadership and Resource Center quickly took to Facebook Friday after Ticketmaster made the cancellation official.
“Thank you for making your voice heard!” the post reads. “It is official – R Kelly will not be performing at UIC on May 5. This is a victory for all of us, but especially for Black women and girls!”
The cancellation comes soon after allegations surfaced this month in which a 20-year-old woman accused Kelly of intentionally giving her a sexually transmitted disease and grooming her for his “sex cult" during an 11-month relationship.
Kelly’s publicist, lawyer, and executive assistant also reportedly cut ties with him in April.