Kaunda Selisho
Lifestyle Journalist
2 minute read
12 Oct 2021
10:12 am

YouTube ‘cancels’ R. Kelly following conviction

Kaunda Selisho

If you wish to continue listening to music by R. Kelly, you may have to work harder to find it after YouTube terminated his channels.

'We have terminated two channels linked to R. Kelly in accordance with our creator responsibility guidelines,' a YouTube spokesperson told AFP in a statement. Pictures: iStock/AFP

Earlier this month, YouTube removed two official channels belonging to singer R. Kelly, who was recently convicted of operating a sex crimes ring that saw him abuse women and children for decades.

“We have terminated two channels linked to R. Kelly in accordance with our creator responsibility guidelines,” a YouTube spokesperson told AFP in a statement.

The I Believe I Can Fly singer, who for years reigned over the world of R&B, still has music available on YouTube music, where 137,000 people subscribe to the disgraced star, and third-party uploads of his songs are still allowed.

The removal follows years of protest from the #MuteRKelly movement. Long before the singer was indicted in four separate jurisdictions, the movement called for ban on his music over long-standing abuse allegations.

Despite what YouTube’s action, his catalogue is still available on major platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music.

Rapper Drake recently came under fire after fans discovered that R. Kelly was listed on his Certified Lover Boy album as a contributor.

Drake’s go-to producer and long-time friend Noah “40” Shebib took to Instagram to explain, at the height of the controversy.

According to 40, an R. Kelly song can be heard faintly playing in the background of audio they sampled at the beginning of a song, and they were legally obligated to credit R. Kelly.

Kelly, 54, was found guilty in September of nine criminal counts, including racketeering, following six weeks of disturbing testimony accusing him of systematically recruiting women and teenagers for sex, before grooming and brutally abusing them.

He is currently incarcerated and faces up to life in prison, with his sentencing hearing scheduled for 4 May 2022. 

Kelly is also slated for prosecution in three other jurisdictions, including an Illinois federal court.

Additional reporting by Kaunda Selisho