The #MeToo and "Time's Up" movement is coming for R. Kelly in Greensboro.
Kelly, 51, is one of the most popular R&B hitmakers of the past 30 years, despite numerous accusations of sexual abuse, particularly of underage girls — allegations that he denies.
He is scheduled to play Greensboro Coliseum on May 11, but local organizers are joining a nationwide "#MuteRKelly" movement to try to cancel the show. If the concert moves forward, organizers say they will be at the venue to protest.
"We're trying to figure out different ways to express that North Carolina is not a place that will support, tolerate or provide a venue for an artist who has been accused of being a sexual predator on black women and girls," said Omisade Burney Scott from Durham. She is director of strategic partnerships and advocacy with SisterSong, an organization that advocates for reproductive rights for women of color.
A representative for the Greensboro Coliseum declined to comment. Live Nation has Kelly's Greensboro show listed on its website, but a representative said that Live Nation is not the show's promoter and declined to comment.
As of Thursday, the show is still scheduled. Greensboro Coliseum management estimates it will draw a crowd of more than 5,000 people, comparable to the last time Kelly performed there in 2016.
Kelly, whose hits include 1996's "I Believe I Can Fly" and the multi-part "Trapped in the Closet" suite, has long been accused of sexual indiscretions. In 1994, he was briefly married to the singer Aaliyah when she was 15 years old after producing her debut album, "Age Ain't But a Number."
The most serious accusations against Kelly stemmed from a sex tape that surfaced in 2002. Kelly denied that he was the man in the video, which showed a man having sex with an allegedly underage girl.
Kelly was charged with child pornography and stood trial in 2007. He was found not guilty, but accusations have persisted.
Last year, three sets of parents claimed that Kelly was holding their daughters hostage in what they called an "abusive cult." Kelly and the alleged victims denied the charges.
But the rise of the #MeToo and Time's Up movements has brought fresh scrutiny to Kelly, fueled by social-media posts under the hashtag #MuteRKelly.
The national Time's Up organization is seeking action from RCA Records, Kelly's label; Spotify and Apple Music, which stream Kelly's catalog; and Ticketmaster, which has sold tickets to his concerts, according to The Associated Press.
Protesters have called for boycotts and were successful in canceling a show that was to have been this weekend in Chicago.
"I don't know why they canceled the show," Kelly said in a video statement. "I never heard of a show being canceled because of rumors, but I guess there's a first time for everything."
Kenyette Tish Barnes, a registered Georgia General Assembly lobbyist for social-justice issues, co-founded Mute R. Kelly. She said the group is aiming straight for Kelly's bottom line by urging promoters, record companies and venues to stop working with him.
"We want to shut him down," Barnes said in an interview. "We're trying to mute him."
Scott said the effort is about more than just Kelly performing.
"We will definitely show up with action to express our concern," said Scott. "This is bigger than a concert. It's about rape culture, toxic masculinity, believing black women and girls who have experienced sexual assault and holding perpetrators accountable."