What a time we are living in! Musicians like R. Kelly are getting delayed karmic retribution when it comes to their alleged abuses of girls and women. Despite the Pied Piper being acquitted of 14 counts of child pornography in 2008, people are still coming for his neck and his coin. And let’s be clear, as a native Chicagoan and a black woman, I am here for it.
Ultraviolet Action, a women’s rights group, is on the same train. They are applauding Spotify’s removal of R. Kelly’s music from their playlists. Keep in mind that his songs are still available on the streaming service. It’s just that you’ll have to do a manual search for them only or create your own playlists with his music.
And for this women’s rights group, they don’t want Spotify to stop with him (or rapper XXXTentacion who they also removed because of his alleged assault against then-pregnant ex-girlfriend in 2016). The group wants the platform to consider removing Chris Brown, Eminem, Nelly, Tekashi 6ix9ine and others as well.
On Monday, Executive Director Shaunna Thomas (who is white) penned an open letter to Spotify head Daniel Ek with the belief that their new public Hate Content and Hateful Conduct policy is a step in the right direction, particularly for black women.
“Your action demonstrates that Spotify is following the lead of Black women who demanded that these two men [R. Kelly and XXXTentacion], who have sexually and physically abused women for years, not be promoted and celebrated,” it reads.
And before you assume that the organization is only coming for black or black-adjacent artists and music, they’re also imploring Spotify to remove The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Don Henley of The Eagles, Ted Nugent and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith. (Yea, they’re not playing).
As a five-year-old organization, Ultraviolet claims that one of their missions has been to call out sexism in politics, media and culture on behalf of all women.
“We work on a range of issues—reproductive rights, healthcare, economic security, violence, and racial justice — and we center the voices of all women, especially women of color, immigrants, and LGBTQ women…We advocate for equal representation in all areas, especially targeting leaders and influencers who are harmful to our ability to live full, free lives,” its website reads.
Piggybacking off the mission, Thomas wrote that the effect of promoting abusers and alleged abusers creates a domino effect that harms girls and women in the real world.
“Every time a famous individual continues to be glorified despite allegations of abuse, we wrongly perpetuate silence by showing survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence that there will be no consequences for abuse. That has a cultural effect far beyond one individual artist,” she said.
Spotify has not addressed Ultraviolet’s request as of yet, but people are sounding off in different ways that makes you realize how much of a slippery slope this is. What are your thoughts?
Renese spends her early mornings writing, her days securing insurance for TV shows, and her in-betweens blogging about the silliness and seriousness of life on her blog. Follow Renese on Twitter: @reneseford