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R Kelly Verdict Caps Decades Of Abuse

R Kelly verdict caps decades of abuse that predominantly targeted Black women and children

R Kelly’s conviction on racketeering and sex trafficking charges came after a trial that shocked the US and opened the eyes of a nation to claims of shocking, decades-long abuse that predominantly targeted Black women and children.

Jurors in a New York federal court heard from multiple witnesses over the weeks-long trial, with a theme of Kelly using his fame and power to subject his victims to sexual and physical abuse.

The conviction came two years after long-rumored accusations against Kelly sprang into public view through the documentary Surviving R Kelly, in which one Black commentator said Kelly was able to get away with his criminal behavior in part because of the race of his victims.

Kelly was convicted of racketeering charges for abusing women, girls and boys for more than two decades. He was also convicted of multiple violations of the Mann Act, which makes it illegal to transport anyone across state lines “for any immoral purpose”.

Witnesses testified during the trial that Kelly had subjected them to perverse and sadistic behavior when they were underage, including beatings and a consistent track record of extreme controlling behavior.

Kelly “believed the music, the fame and the celebrity meant he could do whatever he wanted”, said Nadia Shihata, assistant US attorney, in her closing argument in the Brooklyn courtroom.

But, she added: “He’s not a genius, he’s a criminal. A predator.”

Rebutting claims from Kelly’s lawyers, Shihata said Kelly’s victims “aren’t groupies or gold diggers. They’re human beings.”

The 12-person jury heard from prosecutors that Kelly had used tactics from “the predator playbook” to sexually exploit his victims.

The tactics included isolating them in hotel rooms or his recording studio; subjecting them to degrading rules, such as making them call him “Daddy”; and shooting video recordings, some seen by the jury at trial, of them having sex with him and others as a means to control them.

One witness said Kelly had forced her to film degrading videos as punishment for perceived wrongdoings. In one video she was told to smear feces on her face and “put it in my mouth and act like I liked, enjoyed that”.

She said after performing the act Kelly had said she “wasn’t into it enough” and threatened to make her “redo it”.

Another witness echoed the claims, while the jury also heard how Kelly had beaten one woman, who was 17 years old when she began a sexual relationship with the singer, with a shoe.

A former tour manager for Kelly testified during the trial how he had bribed a government worker on Kelly’s behalf, to get the singer Aaliyah a fake ID so that Kelly could marry her when she was just 15 years old.

R Kelly, in this courtroom sketch, sits with his attorneys Nicole Blank Becker and Thomas Farinella during the trial in Brooklyn.

Prosecutors said Kelly wanted to use the marriage, which was later annulled, to shield himself from criminal charges related to having sex with a minor, and to prevent her testifying against him. A witness said she had seen Kelly sexually abusing Aaliyah around 1993, when Aaliyah was 13 or 14.

Kelly was arrested in Chicago in July 2019 by federal investigators and NYPD detectives, and was held in the city’s Metropolitan correctional center for two years before being transferred to a New York jail for his trial.

He was repeatedly denied bail, with a judge in April 2020 saying Kelly had the potential to be a flight risk, and to intimidate or otherwise interfere with witnesses in his case.

The New York trial may be over, but Kelly faces more court appearances. Federal prosecutors charged Kelly in July 2019 with child abuse image and obstruction charges, with that trial delayed due to the pandemic and to allow the New York case to proceed.

In February of the same year the Cook county, Illinois, state attorney indicted Kelly on aggravated criminal sexual abuse charges involving four victims, three of whom were underage at the time.

Kelly was also charged in Minnesota in August 2019 with engaging in prostitution with a minor. Prosecutors said the case would be delayed until the Chicago charges were settled.

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Entertainment

Semitic Statements: Chicago Institute Revoke’s Kanye West’s Honorary Doctorate

The School Of The Art Institute Of Chicago has revoked the honorary doctorate degree given to rapper, Kanye West, in 2015.

According to TMZ, the president of the school, Elisa Tenny, revealed in a letter that West’s degree was revoked due to his recent outbursts of antisemitism and otherwise offensive comments.

SAIC president Tenny wrote that West’s degree was rescinded because the board found that “his anti-Black, antisemitic, and incendiary statements, particularly those directed at Black and Jewish communities, are disgusting and condemnable”.

Tenny noted that West had been awarded his degree “in recognition for his artistic accomplishments to that point in time”, however over the seven years since then, his “disturbing behaviors” and “dangerous statements” have crafted an image that “[does] not align” with the school’s “community values.”

(NME)

 

 

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Ace Performer, Celine Dion Cancels 2023 Shows Over Battle With Incurable Disease

Celine Dion, veteran Canadian music artiste has opened up on her battle with Stiff Person Syndrome, a neurological disorder that causes one’s muscles to tense uncontrollably.

The 54-year-old made the announcement in a video on her Instagram page on Thursday, where she disclosed that her 2023 shows had been moved to 2024.

She noted that the rare disease, which occurs in one in a million people, had caused her to have spasms.

The Power of Love singer said, “Hello everyone, im sorry it’s taken me so long to reach out to you. I miss you all so much and can’t wait to be on stage talking to you in person.

“As you know I’ve always been an open book and I wasn’t ready to say anything before but im ready now.

“I’ve been dealing with problems with my health for a long time and its been really difficult for me to face my challenges and to talk about everything that I’ve been going through.

“Recently, I’ve been diagnosed with a very rare neurological disorder called the stiff person syndrome which affects 1 in a million people

“While we’re still learning about this rare condition, we now know this is what’s been causing all the spasms I’ve been having.”

The caption of the video read, “Celine Dion reschedules Spring 2023 shows to 2024,and cancels eight of her summer 2023 shows.”

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Entertainment

Sammie Okposo For Burial December 15

The funeral arrangements for gospel singer, Sammie Okposo, have been released by his family.

The singer died in November 25 aged 51.

The family stated that a tribute night will be held for him on Tuesday, December 13 in Lagos State, followed by a service of songs on Wednesday.

The funeral service for Okposo will take place on December 15 and will be private affair.

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