Common says that he and the black community failed R. Kelly’s victims by not listening to their stories sooner.
In an interview with TMZ, Common shouldered his share of the blame for Kelly’s continued success in spite of numerous stories of abuse. The Chicago native said that many people were willing to overlook Kelly’s misdeeds to remain fans.
“I’m guilty of that too myself because I didn’t stop and be like, ‘Yo,’ and speak against this,” he said. “R. Kelly’s from my hometown. At the end of the day, he’s a human being. He has his issues and we see that, but I can’t condone that and I shouldn’t be allowing that to happen. We failed our community as black people.”
“We failed as a community because we knew these things were happening,” Common continued. “And instead of trying to be like, ‘Yo. Let’s go and try to resolve this situation and free these young ladies and stop this thing that’s going on,’ we were just like, ‘Man, we rocking to the music.’”
Common is not the first Chicago musician to speak out against Kelly. In an old interview that was used in the Surviving R. Kelly series, Chance the Rapper admitted he regrets working with the R&B singer. He said that his hypersensitivity to the oppression of black men caused him to overlook the suffering of black women, particularly R. Kelly’s accusers.