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A Chicago event with R. Kelly as the “host” has been denied a permit.
The Spring Break Jam concert, scheduled to take place at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in April, was denied a permit on Thursday even though the organizers had already started to advertise it, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The application to use the space for the concert was initially under review, Illinois Department of Agriculture spokesperson Denise Albert told the Tribune.
Albert said the event wasn’t necessarily canceled because of Survivng R. Kelly, but rather for security concerns given the volume of protests outside Kelly’s studio in the wake of the newly-released Lifetime docuseries that explores the allegations of Kelly’s mental, physical, and sexual abuse of Black women, many of them underage spanning nearly two decades.
The protests were organized by #MuteRKelly, an activist group that began in 2017 in response to new claims of sexual abuse by the R&B artist. Oronike Odeleye, who started the movement, gave a lengthy interview in the six-part docuseries and discussed the numerous protests she helped organize against Kelly’s shows in different cities across the country.
Albert did say that a permit for the event could be reconsidered, but not if Kelly was involved. The event still appears on the Illinois State Fairgrounds website. The Daily Dot reached out to the number associated with the event but did not receive comment by press time.
More recently, in the wake of the docuseries’ release on Jan. 3, #MuteRKelly organized protests outside the singer’s studio in Chicago.
There’s been a renewed interest in the allegations against Kelly since the docuseries dropped, and the Fulton County, Ga. District Attorney and the state’s attorney in Cook County, Ill. are seeking information about allegations against Kelly, according to the New York Times.
Kelly himself remains relentlessly defensive about the accusations, and his attorney Steven Greenberg claims that the allegations come from “a bunch of people who were groupies” who turned against him, according to the Tribune.
H/T Chicago Tribune
Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque