Following this past weekend’s premiere of Lifetime’s docuseries Surviving R. Kelly, two Dallas-based hip-hop and R&B radio stations have pulled R.Kelly’s music from their rotations. As of now, listeners will no longer hear R. Kelly’s catalog on KRNB (105.7 FM) or K104 (104.5 FM).
Surviving R. Kelly details the R&B singer’s decades-long history of sexual misconduct, including his marriage to the late Aaliyah when she was 15 years old, the infamous 2001 tape in which he is allegedly seen engaging in lewd acts with a 14-year-old girl and rumors of him holding women in a sex cult, which were first broken by BuzzFeed in 2017.
“The outpouring of concern and reaction from our listeners is what prompted us to pull the plug on his music,” says George “Geo” Cook, K104 and KRNB director of operations. “There have been rumors and allegations in the past about his relations with underage girls but never to this level of detail.”
Cook believes that R. Kelly’s long-standing presence as a force in the music industry is reflective of a greater issue.
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“Abuse is so prevalent in our communities, but we enable it,” Cook says. “Had R. Kelly been doing these things to white women, there would have been more outrage and he would have had his reckoning a long time ago.”
The reaction to K104 and KRNB’s ban on R. Kelly’s music has been mixed.
“It’s been quite an overwhelming response,” Cook says. “Some people feel it was long overdue, but there are other people who are still R. Kelly fans who will still continue to support him until new information comes out.”
R. Kelly is currently under criminal investigation in Georgia. A petition urging Sony and RCA Records to drop R. Kelly has circulated online following the conclusion of Surviving R. Kelly.