Accusations against R&B singer R. Kelly have dated back to the 1990’s on the grounds that he had been sexually abusing both women and young girls. R. Kelly, who has also been called the “King of R&B”, is considered to be one of the best-selling music artists in the world by receiving over 100 different music awards and selling over 75 million records globally. Recently, he has been found guilty on all accounts including bribery, sexual exploitation of a child, racketeering and sex trafficking; all of which involved girls between 13 and 16 at the time of these occurrences. He is now facing a sentence that ranges to a minimum of 10 years to life in prison. While there has been an increase of public interest surrounding him and his trials, there has been an even larger increase in his music sales. According to the Rolling Stone, after being convicted, the R&B singer’s album sales went up by 517 percent and streams over 22 percent. This only helped his annual streaming average of 5.4 million to increase to 6.4 million in the current year.

While the purpose of these trials is to receive justice for the numerous victims of R. Kelly, must is be at the cost of increasing his success? The old saying “Sex Sells” has always had truth to it, and in this case, it proves that the age does not matter either. A music artist who has been found guilty on so many charges involving young girls, currently has a sentence that includes a large range, that being 10 years to life. This is the circumstance that is currently allowing for R. Kelly’s career to go even farther, probably father than he thought was possible in this current day. Can the act of making a higher profit on one’s music that is based off the events of these girl’s sufferings be defined as justice? After all, history has shown that celebrities and artists who have perform criminal acts, tend to serve much smaller sentences than the average person with an equally punishable crime. More often than not, the act of serving time in prison also attributes to their increases in success and relevancy. R. Kelly is only one of many artists that have contributed to this theory. It is these continuing circumstances that suggest that art is considered to be more profound when it engulfed in crime than not at all.

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Madelyn Huss

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