R. Kelly is currently free on bond after being charged last Friday with 10 counts of sexual abuse in Chicago. The singer has long faced allegations of sexual abuse and sexual misconduct with teens, including a marriage with late singer Aaliyah when she was 15. He was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008 after a video allegedly depicted him having sex with a 14-year old girl. Though the singer was acquitted, many people believe that it was him in the tape.
The recent charges are widely thought to be spurred by the continued work of black women like dream hampton, who produced Lifetime’s poignant Surviving R. Kelly docuseries, as well as Oronike Odeleye and Kenyette Barnes of #MuteRKelly, the movement to get R. Kelly veritably blackballed from the music industry. Their work, along with that of reporter Jim DeRogatis, kept his misdeeds in the public consciousness and eventually led survivors to come forward with stories that allowed authorities to act.
Kelly faces up to 70 years in prison in the Chicago case, and has two other open investigations, including a Department of Homeland Security team exploring whether he violated sex trafficking laws.
Kelly’s charges seem like a long time coming for the people who believe he’s a serial abuser. Here’s a timeline of the past five or so years of controversy and alleged sexual misconduct surrounding R. Kelly, starting with the piece that arguably re-introduced the story into the mainstream media: