We all know that plenty of famous people knew for quite some time about the allegations against R. Kelly, but very few, if any, attempted to speak up about it. Comedian and radio personality Rickey Smiley, however, says that he certainly did, and lost his job over his choice to say something at the time.
“Yeah, let me tell you something about that R. Kelly situation. Man, all of them folks ain’t finna wake up and just all of a sudden accuse him of all this stuff,” he said in a live video he shared earlier this week. “I know one of the girls. She used to work with us at 97.9 The Beat in Dallas. We had been knowing this for years. We knew this way before that came out. As a matter of fact, when I was on the Doug Banks Morning Show, I spoke out against R. Kelly and I got fired eventually. Because the programming director in Chicago said that we was getting ready to do something with R. Kelly and they didn’t like my comments. And eventually, dog, they got me out of there. I ended up losing my job because I spoke out against R. Kelly. What I’ve been saying for years.”
“I got fired for speaking out,” added. “That’s what started the process of me getting fired. Chicago was a major affiliate. I think we was on WGCI at the time. They was carrying Doug Banks Morning Show. So when I spoke out against R. Kelly and they was getting ready to do some kind of event and they was trying to get R. Kelly to do it, what they can’t have is a comedian on your radio show speaking out against R. Kelly. That started the process. Next thing you know, after I got my first official paycheck, my attorney called me, he said, ‘Hey, man, they’re going to go in a different direction.'”
Despite that claim, things obviously worked out for the best for Smiley, as he has his own show now.
But that doesn’t mean that he hasn’t had to come into contact and even interview Kelly since that alleged occurrence. The Rickey Smiley Morning Show interviewed him and sang with him in 2015. Smiley even encouraged Porsha Williams to audition for him to go on the road with the star:
As for the young woman Smiley was referring to, it’s likely Kitti Jones. She was a popular DJ for The Beat who after meeting Kelly in 2011 at a Beat-sponsored after-party for his concert, quit her work at the radio station and moved to Chicago to be with him. In 2017, way before Surviving R. Kelly, she shared her story (and some text messages) with Rolling Stone.
“I just want them to not be so dismissive towards the women that are speaking out,” she said about what she hopes people will take away from her account of life with the singer. “We’re not rolling over out of bed and saying, ‘Hmm, let me just make up a story about R. Kelly today. Let me make it sound similar to something that he’s already been accused of and put my own remix to it just [because] I want some attention.’ [Anyone who has spoken out] has gotten annihilated in the press [and] from fans.”
“It pisses me off that people that really did suffer and go through the things that they did and wanted to kill themselves are still ashamed, in hiding, embarrassed and just afraid overall to speak out,” she added. “The backlash from it will make you feel like [you wish you’d] never talked about it. And all this has been replaying in my head and I’m like, ‘F–k that. I’m not letting this be me.'”