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‘R Kelly Made Me Wear Schoolgirl Outfits And Call Him Daddy’

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R Kelly

‘R Kelly made me wear schoolgirl outfits and call him Daddy’, victim Jerhonda Pace says

Just two weeks away from her 15th birthday, Jerhonda Pace finally had the chance to meet her idol.

A few miles away from her Chicago school, superstar R Kelly was set to make a public appearance. For Jerhonda, it was too good an opportunity to miss.

So after skipping class, she made her way to the venue to finally meet the singer, who had no bigger fan than the schoolgirl.
But Kelly was not appearing at any local concert hall performing his string of smash hits.

Instead, he was taking the spotlight elsewhere – in court.

Unlike his concertgoers, Jerhonda had the luxury of seeing her idol not once but every day for a month as he stood accused of having sex with a different 14-year-old girl, his goddaughter, making a video of the whole thing.

After weeks of evidence Kelly, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was acquitted of the 2008 charges, seeing Jerhonda become a high profile and outspoken defender of her music idol.

But move forward to today, and she is one of the countless women now celebrating after helping put the once multi-millionaire disgraced R&B star behind bars for the abuse he inflicted on her and many others.

On Monday, the singer was convicted after a five-week trial in New York of nine counts of racketeering and violations of the Mann Act, a law that bans sex trafficking across state lines.

The fallen star, 54, now faces ten years, the mandatory minimum, to life in prison for the charges related to nearly 30 years’ worth of allegations that he physically and sexually abused women and minors of both sexes.

After giving evidence against her once idol, Jerhonda welcomed the verdict against her abuser.

“Today, my voice was heard,” she wrote on Instagram.

“For years, I was trolled for speaking out about the abuse that I suffered at the hands of that predator. People called me a liar and said I had no proof. Some even said I was speaking out for money. Speaking out about abuse is not easy, especially when your abuser is high-profile,” she added.

The verdict followed often-harrowing testimony from almost 50 witnesses and arrived quickly on the second day of jury deliberations.
Kelly was found guilty on one count of racketeering, a charge often levied against mob bosses and eight of violating the Mann Act.

He still faces additional federal charges of sexual assault and abuse in Illinois.

The 45 prosecutorial witnesses described an elaborate and complex system of abuse bolstered by Kelly’s immense fame and professional power during the trial.

His criminality was supported by an army of loyal lieutenants and close associates.

Numerous accusers, including Jerhonda, testified they were underage when they met Kelly, whom they said went on to control their lives.

A woman identified as “Jane” stated she was forced into sexual encounters with other women and could not leave rooms without Kelly’s permission.

Jane also said that the singer, the son of a school teacher, forced her to have an abortion.

Another woman who spoke in court anonymously said Kelly once told her he married Aaliyah in 1994 when the up-and-coming singer was 15 so that she could legally obtain an abortion.

Multiple witnesses made mention of Aaliyah, who died in a plane crash in 2001.

A woman named Angela said she saw Kelly sexually abuse Aaliyah on a tour bus when she would have been around 13 years old.

It marks a stunning fall for Kelly, once one of the biggest selling stars with megahits like Ignition (Remix), Bump N Grind, The World’s Greatest, and I Believe I Can Fly on the planet.

He rose to fame after singing as an eight-year-old in church before winning a $100,000 grand prize on the syndicated US television talent show, “Big Break,” hosted by Natalie Cole.

His first albums – Born Into The ‘90s and 12 Play – catapulted him to stardom. As he became a millionaire at the age 27, he married Aaliyah in secret before months later, the union was annulled because of her age.

In June 2002, Kelly was indicted in Chicago on child pornography charges stemming from the sex tape.

He pleaded not guilty and was released on bail.

Seven months later, he was arrested at a Florida hotel on additional child pornography charges after investigators said they found photos of him having sex with a girl.

Charges were later dropped after the judge ruled police didn’t have a warrant to search his house.

It took another six years before the case would come to trial seeing him in that time recruit many more victims, much like Jerhonda.

She was groomed from an early age before being forced to sign non-disclosure agreements and face threats of retribution if she ever spoke out.

Back in 2008, to see him close, she lied about her age to sheriffs standing guard outside the court because they didn’t allow people under 18 to enter the courtroom.

One day the three-time Grammy winner noticed her in a court and showed his appreciation for being a fan.

“One day, he stopped and said, ‘Thank you for your support,’ and said when it was over, he would give me something,” she explained.

“He ended up giving me his autograph and later sent me a friend request on MySpace.”

Jerhonda attended the trial until the end, even watching the videotape in question, which was shown in the courtroom several times.

It showed R Kelly urinating in the girl’s mouth and demanding she call him “daddy.”

The jury eventually acquitted Kelly of all charges, finding that while he was in the video prosecutors presented, they couldn’t be sure the female was his underage goddaughter.

Jerhonda enthusiastically backed the verdict.

The following year, when she was 16, Kelly invited her to a party he hosted at his mansion in Olympia Fields, a wealthy Chicago suburb.

He told her to tell everyone she was 19 and gave her his number.

On other occasions, the two hung out alone.

Things quickly became sexual between them, and the two slept together repeatedly over the next seven months.

Although she had not even graduated high school, she started spending weekends at his home.

“I had to call him ‘daddy,’ and he would call me ‘baby,’” she said.

“He wanted me to have two pigtails, and I had to go out and find little schoolgirl outfits.”

His grip on her continued, with R Kelly punishing her if she broke his “rules”.

They dictated how she dressed, her phone use, and when she could shower, eat, use the bathroom, and leave his property.

She claims the star slapped her, spit in her face, choked her until she fainted, and coached her on what to say to her mother.

During his trial in Brooklyn, Jerhonda told how he assaulted her and knowingly gave her herpes — a claim seemingly backed by a doctor who took the stand to discuss Kelly’s medical history.

Gloria Allred, who represented three accusers, described Kelly as the “worst” of “all the predators that I have pursued” throughout her 47 years of practising law.

“R Kelly thought that he could get away with all of this, but he didn’t,” Allred said outside the courthouse. “Because despite the fact that he thought he could control all of his victims, he was wrong.”

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Grammys add new categories, including songwriter of the year

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Grammys add new categories, including songwriter of the year

The Grammys are adding a special song for social change award and five new categories including songwriter of the year, giving the Recording Academy an avenue to honor music’s best composer.

The academy announced Thursday that the new non-classical songwriter category will recognize one individual who was the “most prolific” non-performing and non-producing songwriter for a body of new work during an eligibility year. The category is taking a different approach than song of the year, which awards the songwriter or songwriters who wrote the lyrics or melodies to one song.

“This new category is truly for an expert person at the songwriting craft,” Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr told The Associated Press. Songwriters must have written a minimum of five songs in which they are credited “solely” as a songwriter or co-writer.

“Somebody who writes their own music and records it would not be eligible,” he said. “They would have to be doing songs for others. We want to highlight the craft of writing songs professionally for artists.”

“Songwriters are at the heart of our business and industry,” he said. “Nothing happens without songwriters. For us, this was a no brainer. It’s in alignment with all the changes. We thought, ‘How can we do more? Showcase more people and be more inclusive to different genres?’”

The new category is another huge step for songwriters. Last year, a rule update allowed that any songwriter, producer, engineer or featured artist on an album nominated for album of the year could ultimately earn a nomination.

The four other categories include best spoken word poetry album, alternative music performance, Americana music performance and score soundtrack for video games and other interactive media.

The academy created a special merit award that determines best song for social change. The award will be based on lyrical content that addresses a timely social issue and promotes “understanding, peacebuilding and empathy.”

“It’s always the right time to recognize music that’s changing the world,” he said. “I think it deserves a special recognition. These songs are important and impactful. We want to make sure we’re honoring and celebrating that artform. This is a great way to do that.”

Mason said it was yearlong process of accepting proposals to make changes, additions and updates from music creators and professionals that make up the membership body.

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Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee kicks off with pomp

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Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee kicks off with pomp

Four days of celebrations honoring Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the throne got underway Thursday with a display of British military traditions stretching from the days of horse and cannon to the jet age.

Formal celebrations for the Platinum Jubilee began with Trooping the Color, an annual military review that has marked the sovereign’s official birthday since 1760. The queen is expected to join the working members of her family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace at the end of the event, when 70 aircraft are set to roar overhead.

The jubilee is being commemorated with a four-day holiday weekend. The celebration of Elizabeth’s reign includes a service of thanksgiving Friday at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, a concert at Buckingham Palace on Saturday and a pageant staged by thousands of performers drawn from schools and community groups around the country on Sunday afternoon.

Throughout the weekend, neighborhood organizations and individuals are expected to hold thousands of street parties around the country, repeating a tradition that began with the queen’s coronation in 1953.

The 96-year-old queen is Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and the first to reach the milestone of seven decades on the throne. The jubilee is giving many people — even those often indifferent to the monarchy — a chance to reflect on the state of the nation and the huge changes that have taken place during her reign.

Former Prime Minister John Major — one of the 14 prime ministers of the queen’s reign — said the monarch’s stoic presence had helped steer the country over the decades,

“The queen has represented our better selves for over 70 years,” he told the BBC.

In a written jubilee message, the queen thanked people in Britain and across the Commonwealth involved in organizing the celebrations. For many, the occasion is the first opportunity for a big bash since the start of the coronavirus pandemic more than two years ago.

“I know that many happy memories will be created at these festive occasions,” Elizabeth said.

“I continue to be inspired by the goodwill shown to me, and hope that the coming days will provide an opportunity to reflect on all that has been achieved during the last 70 years, as we look to the future with confidence and enthusiasm,” she said.

Congratulations arrived from world leaders. French President Emmanuel Macron called Elizabeth “the golden thread that binds our two countries” and one of “very few constants” on the international stage.

“You are our friend, such a close ally, our example of service to others,” Macron told the queen in an English-language video message.

The name of the long weekend’s first event, Trooping the Color, refers to a regimental flag, or “color,” that is trooped through the ranks. Britain’s annual tradition for the queen’s birthday is a ceremonial reenactment of the way battle flags were once shown to soldiers to make sure they would recognize a crucial rallying point if they became disoriented in combat.

The troops taking part come from the army’s Household Division, composed of the seven regiments that perform ceremonial duties for the queen. Their members are fully trained soldiers and often deployed overseas when not on ceremonial duty.

Each year a different unit has the honor of trooping its color. The 1st Battalion of the Irish Guards will have the spotlight during the Platinum Jubilee.

Thousands of people, some of whom camped overnight, lined the parade route — many of them sporting Union Jack flags, party hats or plastic tiaras.

Carly Martin, who caught a late-night bus from south London with her daughter, said she had come “to make memories.”

“You’re never going to see this again in your lifetime,” she said. “At least not in mine, maybe not in my daughter’s. … Seventy years — it is all I have ever known.”

Several protesters were arrested after getting past barriers and onto the parade route. The group Animal Rebellion claimed responsibility, saying the protesters were “demanding that royal land is reclaimed.”

Cheers and the clop of hooves rang out as horse-drawn carriages carried members of the royal family, including Prince William’s wife, Kate, and their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, from Buckingham Palace to Horse Guards Parade, a ceremonial parade ground about 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) away.

The queen is expected to appear twice on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, but Prince Charles is playing play a key role during the event. Mounted on horseback, he will take the salute from ranks of scarlet-clad Guards on his mother’s behalf, along with his sister, Princess Anne, and his son Prince William.

Elizabeth has had trouble getting around of late, and her courtiers have been careful to keep make things as simple for her as possible.

Senior royals including Prince Charles’ wife, Camilla, traveled in carriages to watch the ceremony from a building overlooking the parade ground.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will join other royals to watch the spectacle. Harry and Meghan have traveled from their home in California to take part in the celebrations.

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Buhari congratulates Bishop Okpaleke on appointment as Pope’s Cardinal

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Buhari congratulates Bishop Okpaleke on appointment as Pope’s Cardinal

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Wednesday expressed happiness over the appointment of Bishop Peter Okpaleke of Ekwulobia Diocese, Anambra State, as a Cardinal in the Catholic Church by Pope Francis.

In a statement signed late Wednesday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari commended the Pope for finding a capable Nigerian in the person of Bishop Okpaleke to be one of the two nominees from the African continent.

The statement is titled ‘President Buhari welcomes appointment of Bishop Okpaleke as 4th cardinal from Nigeria.’

According to Shehu, President Buhari also “congratulated the Nigerian Christian Community on this choice, describing the Cardinal-designate as ably qualified, and that having him in that position will benefit the country.”

The statement partly read, “The President also commended the commitment of the Catholic Church to the unity, peace, and progress of the Nigerian state. He also highlighted the effort of the Church in combating the COVID-19 pandemic as well as its support and commitment in favour of the poor and most vulnerable members of the society.”

Bishop Okpaleke becomes the fourth Cardinal from Nigeria. Others before him are Francis Arinze, Anthony Okogie and John Onaiyekan. He is among the 21 new Cardinals Pope Francis announced on May 29.

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