UPDATE: In a statement to TheWrap after this article was published, Chuck D wrote, “JUST TO BE CLEAR, I’m not the R. Kelly fan here. I ain’t got any of his songs. And his actions were trash.”
Chuck D’s tweet about R. Kelly’s verdict and the U.S. prison system has many people wondering what the legendary rapper was thinking.
The Public Enemy front man tweeted his take after the R&B singer was found guilty Monday on eight counts of sex trafficking and one count of racketeering.
Chuck D traced R. Kelly’s childhood and young adult background, comparing his situation to that of Rick James, another Black man.
Abused in his youth… an addict as a adult… Ike Turner served 18 months in prison.. Rick James did similar time. Ike came out a changed positive human being. 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?
— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) September 28, 2021
R Kelly’s trial lasted almost six weeks with a jury of 12 — seven men and five women. It concluded Friday in New York. Many of the witnesses who came forward to accuse R. Kelly were Black women, heightening the case’s importance within the larger #MeToo movement.
Reactions to Chuck D’s tweet from other entertainers and creatives in the Black community have not echoed his sentiments. Drew Dixon, subject of HBO’s “On the Record” documentary which focuses on how she became one of the first Black woman to come forward and detail her history of abuse by Russell Simmons, called out Chuck D on Twitter for “twisting logic into a pretzel.”
.@MrChuckD is twisting logic into a pretzel to argue for the rehabilitation of an unrepentant child rapist. Why isn’t he focused on repairing the trauma inflicted on the Black victims assaulted by R. Kelly? Why don’t they matter? This is toxic, anti-Black, and exhausting. https://t.co/P2dnCVDmpy
— Drew Dixon (@deardrewdixon) September 28, 2021
Dixon has retweeted several other replies in the growing Twitter conversation. She even pulled Lindsey Boylan — the first woman to speak out in the accusation of Andrew Cuomo’s sexual harassment — into the thread.
I’d suggest not tagging people who have been harassed/abused in posts about harassment/abuse.
Ask yourself: what can you do personally, without their help, to end harassment/abuse?
If you need their help, send them a dm requesting help.
Being thoughtful is being productive.
— Lindsey Boylan (@LindseyBoylan) September 28, 2021
Dixon has also emphasized other responses from Black people like April Reign that discuss how to talk about and correct both Chuck D’s and R Kelly’s behavior.
I hope people with kids are watching these people defending R Kelly…. and act accordingly.. I would even start asking family and friends their opinions and act accordingly from that point.
(@WonderKing82) September 28, 2021
What indication do you have that R Kelly wants to change? There has been no remorse. What there has been is decades of abusing Black girls, women & boys. Let's remember that Aaliyah was 15 and he was 27 when she was impregnated & they were married. Where is the accountability?
— April (@ReignOfApril) September 28, 2021