As a music icon, he sold more than 60 million records. But today, R. Kelly is the frequent subject of headlines about his alleged abuse of girls and women.
Last week, the Chicago native pled not guilty to 11 counts of sexual assault. But according to music journalist Jim DeRogatis, who’s followed the R&B superstar for nearly 20 years, those charges merely scratch the surface of years of abuse perpetrated by Kelly.
DeRogatis said he can name 48 women who allege they have been sexually assaulted or abused by the singer.
“My phone keeps ringing from young women who want to tell their stories. To be clear, it really doesn’t matter about how hard a slog this has been for me for 19 years,” DeRogatis said in an interview with Vulture.
DeRogatis details some of that abuse – along with Kelly’s childhood, his rise to fame and the 2008 child pornography case against him – in the new book “Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly.”
“When you think about the courage of a young woman doing the hardest thing she could possibly do, to sit and rip out her soul and talk about her sexual abuse … The book was necessary because of Tiffany Hawkins, Patrice Jones, Tracy Samson, Montina Woods, Jerhonda Pace, Dominique Gardner, Andrea Kelly, Lizette Martinez, and [the rest of the] 48 women whose names I know. All of those women cannot be lying, despite what Kelly and his attorneys say,” he said.
DeRogatis joins us in discussion.
At 6 p.m. Thursday, June 13, DeRogatis joins Kenyette Tisha Barnes and Oronike Odeleye of #MuteRKelly and journalist Kyra Kyles in conversation as part of the Chicago Humanities Fest at the Chop Shop, 2033 W. North Ave. Purchase tickets here and use the code “Soulless15” for a $15 discount off general admission prices.