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."
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.
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"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.