R. Kelly’s upcoming performance at the UIC Pavilion has been canceled after more than 1,300 students and staff at the University of Illinois at Chicago signed a petition to prevent the controversial singer from performing at the college.
"Please note: R. Kelly is no longer performing," a caption on Ticketmaster's website reads.
The performance, originally scheduled for May 5 as part of the 2018 “Pre-Mother’s Day Love Jam,” would have been the R&B legend’s first hometown concert since a BuzzFeed News report last July alleged he has kept women in his Chicago and Atlanta homes, controlling “every aspect of their lives” in a sexually abusive "cult."
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An open letter attached to the petition cited “overwhelming public evidence of [Kelly’s] history of sexual misconduct,” for which allegations stem back to the 1990s.
Natalie Bennett, director of the Women’s Leadership and Resource Center at UIC, co-wrote the open letter with the intention to deliver it to UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis once it reached 1,500 signatures. She told NBC 5 Friday afternoon that UIC being involved with Kelly “in any way” was contradictory to the school’s values of diversity, equity and inclusivity.
“We really want to send a message to not just him, but also the university that we … want survivor’s voices to be taken seriously,” Bennett said.
The UIC Women's Leadership and Resource Center quickly took to Facebook Friday after Tickmaster made the cancellation official.
"Thank you for making your voice heard!" the post reads. "It is official - R Kelly will not be performing at UIC on May 5. This is a victory for all of us, but especially for Black women and girls!"
The cancellation comes soon after allegations surfaced this month in which a 20-year-old woman accused Kelly of intentionally giving her a sexually transmitted disease and grooming her for his “sex cult” during an 11-month relationship.
Kelly’s publicist, lawyer and executive assistant also reportedly cut ties with him in April.