R. Kelly made his first public appearance since Lifetime began airing Surviving R. Kelly, a six-part documentary investigating the allegations of rape and child molestation the singer faces.
CNN reports the artist spent Wednesday evening and Thursday morning at V75 Chicago, a club in Chicago, Illinois. There, he was feted by fans, whom he serenaded with an excerpt of his hit “Bump ‘n Grind.”
Kelly also alluded to the documentary and to renewed calls for an investigation into the accusations he faces.
In a clip posted to Instagram, Kelly said, “Y'all motherf**kers don’t know, but it’s my motherf**king birthday, and I don’t give a f**k what’s going on tonight.”
As it happens, a rally in support of Kelly’s abusers was what was going on Wednesday night.
As ABC 7 Chicago reports, members of the #MuteRKelly campaign and two radio hosts hosted a protest outside of Kelly’s Chicago studio.
Angi Taylor, a DJ at KISS-FM, and her colleague Kendra G. of WGCI Radio said the time has come to remove Kelly’s music from radio station playlists.
"We need to realize that this person is a monster and stop celebrating this music," Taylor said.
Representatives from the #MuteRKelly movement were on hand, as well; as Blavity has reported, the group wants DJs to stop playing the artist’s music and has called for full investigations into the abuse allegations he faces.
Kenyette Tish Barnes, a #MuteRKelly cofounder, told ABC she wants justice for those who say the singer has hurt them.
"For those young ladies who have dealt with the abuse, they want vindication, they want accountability, they want to be able to go on with their lives," Barnes said.
Protester Paris Robinson told the station she came to the demonstration because "We support the victims, and we just want him to have his day in court. We demand he be brought to justice."
The justice protesters demand might be coming.
As Blavity reported Tuesday, Kelly is now under investigation in Georgia. It is known that one of his accusers is cooperating with the state’s authorities; another woman, whose parents claim Kelly is her holding hostage, has been summoned for questioning by the district attorney.
In Chicago, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx has asked anyone with any information about the allegations of abuse leveled against the singer to call her office, as FOX Chicago reports.
In a visit to Chicago morning show Windy City Live, Foxx said she’d received many calls since issuing the request and assured the public she is taking what she’s heard seriously.
She also asked the concerned to be patient and to allow law enforcement to complete a full and fair inquiry.
"What we will not do is file charges that are not appropriate in the name of doing something for appeasing a public that wants something," Foxx said.
As ABC notes, Kelly’s team claims the artist has nothing to fear from Foxx’s investigation.
"People say what they want to say," said Derrick Macon, a friend of Kelly’s who attended the Chicago demonstrator as a counter-protester. "I know this man ain't guilty."
As Kelly himself found out early Thursday morning, there currently are no charges against him.
TMZ reports police officers arrived at the singer’s V75 Chicago birthday party; a concerned citizen who saw him at the club called 911, telling the dispatcher there was a warrant out for Kelly’s arrest.
Officers arrived on the scene to investigate. They reportedly spoke with Kelly and checked their systems for the warrant. However, no such document existed, and the officers told the artist he was free to go.
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