CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The recent documentary series about musical artist R. Kelly and his alleged inappropriate relationships with girls has hit a chord with the Charlotte radio community. Radio stations have decided to pull R. Kelly’s music.
“I just don’t think it’s in the best interest to play R. Kelly - just based on the accusations that have come about - that haven’t been answered for and just for the controversy surrounding it,” 105.3 Operations Manager Jeff Anderson said.
Anderson says the radio station hasn’t received push-back for not playing the musician’s music. He believes the community expects the radio station to do the right thing.
"I believe especially the female community," Anderson said. "They are up in arms. They don't really want that support there. They expect that we would be a community leader. We are here to serve the community first and foremost - be a voice."
Local radio personalities say they have no problem pulling R. Kelly’s music. Chirl Girl on 105.3 has been on the air in Charlotte for many years. She says when she’s behind the microphone - she intentionally would not play R. Kelly’s music. She says the allegations surrounding the singer brought up painful memories.
“I am a survivor of sexual abuse as a child,” 105.3 radio personality Chirl Girl said. “So it makes me feel some kind of way, and when I hear the lyrics - all his songs were creepy - all of them. If you have been a victim of that type of thing - it pulls you back into those same scary circumstances, so I am like why are we traumatizing the public. We are here to make them feel good and dance and relax.”
Chirl Girl says she remembers when R. Kelly came to Charlotte and there were allegations back then of an inappropriate relationship with a young women.
The radio personality says she has her reasons why R. Kelly’s music continued to hit the radio airwaves despite alleged abusive behavior.
“I think the music industry knew, but they made decisions based on money and I think also the power thing of men versus women has a lot to do with it too,” Chirl Girl said.
Chirl Girl also remembers when R. Kelly was on trial for child pornography charges back in 2008. She says radio stations did take a stand at that time. At the end, Kelly was acquitted of all charges.
“They pulled back a little bit, but as soon as all the hype went away - they just kept playing it,” Chirl Girl said.
Anderson believes the combination of the recent six part docu-series and the climate of our country as it relates to women’s issues has created a greater awareness for people to take a stand against R. Kelly.
"It sounds like everybody is on one accord," Anderson said. "Everybody is singing the same song and they are saying this has been going on for some time."
R. Kelly’s lawyer, Steven Greenberg, has spoken out against the allegations and the docu-series. After it aired, Greenberg appeared on morning show CBS This Morning. At that time he called the documentary a “hit piece” and stated that “there’s absolutely no evidence” the accusers were telling the truth.
Anderson believes what is happening to R. Kelly should serve as a notice to other artists. He realizes everybody has a past they don't want to bring up, but he believes now is the time for singers to think about the consequences before they act.
“People need to clean up themselves and the industry really needs to take a look at what they are doing and just adhere to some morals that are going to be the standard of what we expect,” Anderson said.
Chirl Girl agrees. She hopes this action will not be just for a moment but hopes it lasts. She believes a strong message had to be sent to R. Kelly and other artists.
"There have been more conversations about abuse," Chirl Girl said. "There have been more conversations about how the power works and now we know better we can do better and at this station we are going to do better."
Charlotte radio station V101.9 has also decided to pull R. Kelly's music.
Despite these allegations and radio stations silencing Kelly and cities banning R. Kelly from performing there - the singer announced he will be going on tour outside the United States.
Even though R.Kelly is staging a comeback, Anderson stands by the decision to pull his music. He says he will continue to serve his listeners.
“When the community speaks we listen. We are driven by what they say - what they want,” Anderson said.