Tom Joyner bans R. Kelly’s music after meeting with #MeToo founder

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Syndicated radio show host Tom Joyner says he’ll no longer play R. Kelly’s music on his show. | Sun-Times files

Prominent syndicated radio show host Tom Joyner announced that he will no longer play the music of Grammy award-winning singer R. Kelly on his show after speaking with #MeToo founder Tarana Burke.

Burke was a guest on Jacque Reid’s “Inside Her Story,” a segment on Joyner’s show.

Burke, who founded the #MeToo movement in 2006, re-emphasized why she believes that playing Kelly’s music is problematic due to his questionable behavior with women and underage girls dating back to the 1990s.

“There is a lot of work happening but we need help,” Burke said. “We need ‘The Tom Joyner Morning Show’ to stop supporting R. Kelly. That’s one of the things that would help.”

Even though radio stations and their hosts have made proclamations saying they’ve stopped playing Kelly’s music previously, Joyner’s stance on not playing the music of the so-called “King of R&B” resonates due to his prominence at radio stations that cater to a mostly black listenership.

An Atlanta activist tried to pressure local radio stations to cancel a 2017 show after Buzzfeed reported that Kelly had abused young black women living with him in houses in Chicago and the Atlanta area.

The concert eventually took place, but a Memphis show scheduled for Aug. 27 by the R&B singer was canceled due to “unforeseen circumstances.”

Last week, Kelly’s lawyer, publicist and executive assistant announced that they have severed ties with the R&B singer, according to several reports.

Joyner’s show no longer airs on any Chicago station, though he first found fame on local outlets including WVON and WJPC. For eight years starting in 1985, he commuted daily via jet to a morning show in Dallas and a top-rated afternoon program on Chicago’s WGCI-FM (107.5), earning the nickname “Fly Jock.”

He has said he plans to retire at the end of 2019.


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