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Sexual assault survivors protest R. Kelly concert at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit

R. Kelly accused of sexual misconduct

DETROIT – Sexual assault survivors and community activists marched outside Little Caesars Arena on Wednesday night to protest R. Kelly's concert.

For years, the R&B singer has been accused of sexual misconduct, and protest organizers said he's not welcome in Detroit.

Beloved singer Aaliyah was just 15 years old when R. Kelly married her, and he's been accused of sexually assaulting underage girls and women.

Protestors said R. Kelly's victims have largely been black women, and their voices will no longer be silenced.

Around 50 people marched outside the arena Wednesday to protest the concert.

"We're out here, too," sexual assault survivor Jazmine Middlebrooks said. "We just want to feel like what we go through matters, too."

They carried signs and demanded action. Protesters said they got mixed reactions from concertgoers.

"It's sad that not everyone takes it as seriously as us," Middlebrooks said.

"Even though some concertgoers may have been offended, many supported us, took videos, said they were here for Charlie (Wilson), not R. Kelly," artist and activist Antonio Cosme said.

R. Kelly has never been convicted of sexual assault, but in the #MeToo era, activists said years of allegations can't be ignored.

"We're saying that even though we couldn't make charges stick, it still doesn't mean you haven't done it," #MuteRKelly organizer Kalimah Johnson said.

When it comes to the #MeToo movement, protesters said woman of color are marginalized. They point to the creator, Tarana Burke, an African-American woman whose name doesn't get the same recognition as other activists.

"A lot of women are left out of the conversation," #MuteRKelly organizer Nicole Densin said. "#MuteRKelly is about bringing women of color into the conversation."

Protesters said they have a message for Little Caesars Arena and R. Kelly: "Time's up."

Organizers said they want to get R. Kelly where it hurts: his wallet. The protest was organized by Sasha Center, Wayne County Safe, LGBT Detroit, Women's March and others.

The next big event is Take Back the Night, which is planned for the end of April.

Local 4 reached out to Little Caesars Arena for comment and did not hear back.


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