R. Kelly performs the National Anthem prior to the game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Atlanta Hawks at Barclays Center in 2015.

(Photo Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports)

#MuteRKelly Co-Founder: Fanbase vs Protesters Shows Huge Divide Among Black Women

Revelations ripping off scabs and fans finding it hard to realize Kelly is flawed.

Maria Boynton
January 08, 2019 - 1:05 pm

Kenyette Barnes says being a survivor of sexual abuse is not her primary motivator as co-founder of the #MuteRKelly movement. Yet, what that experience does, according to Barnes, is provides her "insight and a sense of empathy" that propels her as she does the work of holding the chart-topping R&B singer accountable. She calls it a passion. "It's not just R. Kelly", she says. "It's domestic abuse, intimate partner violence, sex trafficking,sexual abuse. Gender-based violence is my passion."

Kelly is accused of sexual assault involving minors.

Barnes, an Atlanta mother of 3, works as a lobbyist in the Georgia General Assembly and a lot of the legislation she champions centers around gender-based violence. "It's just a part of who I am."

The focus, since she and Oronike Odeleye founded #MuteRKelly in 2017, according to Barnes, has been to stop Kelly's music from being played on the radio, to persuade elected officials not to allow him to perform in their concert venues, to encourage concert-goers not to go the concerts, and to hold him accountable for the crimes he has done" as was outlined in the recent docu-series "Surviving R. Kelly."  And, according to Barnes, even as someone who does the work, she found it difficult to watch.

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