R. Kelly's Music is Thriving and Jada Pinkett Smith Can't Understand Why - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

Jada Pinkett Smith is “having a really difficult time understanding why” R. Kelly’s music streams have spiked on Spotify following the release of the gut-wrenching docuseries Surviving R. Kelly, which details allegations of his history as an alleged serial sexual predator.

Kelly has faced accusations of child and sexual abuse since the 1990s when it was first reported that he married and slept with singer Aaliyah when she was just 15 years old. In the new six-part docuseries, people affiliated with the R&B singer testified to witnessing the 51-year-old singer’s abusive behavior over the course of his career. Meanwhile, multiple women of color described the sexual, physical, and emotional abuse that they survived as teens in chilling detail.

Yet, despite the disturbing revelations about Kelly, Spotify revealed that his streams have jumped by 16% since part 1 of the series aired on Jan. 6, reported The Blast. Pinkett Smith responded to the surprising news in a Twitter video.

“I’m having a really difficult time understanding why,” she said of the increase in Kelly’s popularity. “But I think it’s important I understand why.” The “Red Table Talk” host added, “I really don’t want to believe that it’s because Black girls don’t matter enough. Or is that the reason?”

To Pinkett Smith’s point, many fans and people within the music industry continued to express support for Kelly, including rapper Joyner Lucas, who in a series of now-deleted tweets, sympathized with the accused abuser. Other argued that Kelly is a victim of a smear campaign.

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On the other hand, notable celebrities and influencers criticized the singer as well as the fans and people in the music industry for being complicit in his abuse.

Black Enterprise Editor-at-Large Alfred Edmond also weighed in on the troubling allegations.

This comes months after Spotify placed a temporary ban on Kelly’s music back in June under a hate conduct policy. The streaming platform later decided to lift the ban.

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Selena Hill

Selena Hill is the Digital Editor at Black Enterprise and an award-winning multi-media journalist. She is also the founder and co-host of "Let Your Voice Be Heard!," a political podcast that adds a sprinkle of trap music, Beyonce, and hot sauce to unseasoned news.


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