When R. Kelly comes to Greensboro and Raleigh this weekend, protesters will be waiting

R. Kelly is scheduled to be in Raleigh on Saturday at a "Pre Mother's Day Bash," the day after he performs in a Greensboro concert that has drawn national criticism.

At both shows, activists who have joined the nationwide #MuteRKelly movement are scheduled to be there to protest.

#MuteRKelly, an offshoot of the national "Time's Up" and #MeToo movements, calls upon venues to cancel Kelly's shows and for the music industry to cease working with the R&B star who has faced numerous accusations of sexual misconduct. Kelly has repeatedly denied the accusations.

This week, Spotify removed Kelly's music from its editorial and algorithmic playlists. While his music is still available on Spotify, the service "will not actively promote it," according to a statement.

In Raleigh, the R&B star is scheduled to appear May 12 at Level Night Club. It's not clear whether Kelly will perform or just attend the event, which has tickets from $30 up to $1,500 VIP packages. A man who answered the phone at Level Night Club's listed phone number declined to answer questions.

Friday, Kelly is expected to play Greensboro Coliseum, though protesters, citing accusations of sexual abuse of underage girls, have called on the Greensboro Coliseum to cancel the show in an open letter released Wednesday.

"The paycheck that R. Kelly receives from his concerts goes to lawyers to fight child molestation charges and to pay off victims," the letter reads in part.

Greensboro Coliseum officials declined to comment on Wednesday.

"They have been radio-silent," said Omisade Burney Scott of Durham, one of the leaders of anti-Kelly protests in North Carolina. Scott is director of strategic partnerships and advocacy with SisterSong, an organization that advocates for reproductive rights for women of color.

"On a national level, the trajectory is increasing with people standing behind the #MuteRKelly movement," Scott said. "But folks in North Carolina directly connected with this show in Greensboro, there's been no feedback."

Protesters in North Carolina will hand out flyers to steer attention toward Black Mamas Bail Out, a grassroots effort to help provide bail money for incarcerated mothers.

"R. Kelly doing a 'Pre Mother's Day Bash' is disgusting," Scott said. "So we're telling people, rather than go to an event celebrating a known sexual predator, why not provide support to an organization that bails out black mothers?"

Mute R Kelly
Protesters hold signs that say "Mute R. Kelly" outside his concert in Detroit in February. North Carolina activists are scheduled to protest May 11 and 12 at concerts in Greensboro and Raleigh, NC. Brittany Greeson For The Washington Post

#MuteRKelly has called for streaming services, concert promoters and Kelly's record label to stop working with him. Activists succeeded in canceling a recent show Kelly was to have played in Chicago.

While Kelly has long been accused of sexual misdeeds, he has yet to be convicted. In 2007, he was charged with child pornography over a sex tape that showed a man having sex with an allegedly underage girl.

Denying he was the man in the video, Kelly stood trial in 2007. He was found not guilty.

But accusations have persisted, many of them laid out in a recent Washington Post story. The story quoted an unnamed Kelly representative attacking the #MuteRKelly protests against him as the "public lynching of a black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture."

Kelly's hits include 1996's "I Believe I Can Fly" and the multipart "Trapped in the Closet" suite.

David Menconi: 919-829-4759, @NCDavidMenconi
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