Akon became the recent public figure to face criticism for comments on R. Kelly’s legal woes after he said the disgraced musician “has the right to redeem himself” despite his sex trafficking and racketeering conviction.
The Senegalese-American musician made those comments during a recent interview with TMZ. “There is always a way to redeem yourself, but you have to first accept the fact that you’re wrong,” the 48-year-old said. “He has the right to redeem himself from those mistakes. Even him. He has the right to try to make right by those he hurt.”
The Locked Up singer further buttressed his point by speaking about his religious beliefs and why Kelly was bound to go through his current situation. “I believe that God makes no mistakes,” he said. “People can debate back and forth all day but if it’s happening to him, it’s supposed to happen to him, for whatever reason. Now, that’s something that he has to have within himself to re-evaluate his whole life, his way of being, because to get caught up in a situation like that, whatever happens, [it’s] between him and God.”
Kelly, 54, was on September 27 convicted by a New York jury on all nine counts of sex trafficking and racketeering charges. Kelly had been accused of grooming and sexually abusing women and underage girls. Nine women and two men appeared in court to testify against the singer, claiming that he sexually abused them.
But during the interview, Akon appeared to encourage Kelly’s victims to find a place in their hearts to forgive the embattled R&B musician. “The people that he hurt also has the right to decide if they want to forgive him,” Akon said. “I believe that not forgiving people only puts you in more pain. You gotta let all that go and just put that in the hands of the Lord and let everything work out the way it’s supposed to.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Akon also spoke about Kelly’s talent and who he believes should ultimately judge his actions. “At the end of the day, you cannot deny his talent,” the entrepreneur said. “He is one of the greatest R&B artists, writers, producers that came on this business. You can’t take that away from him.”
He continued: “Who he is as a person, we’re not the ones to judge because we weren’t there. The only person that can help himself is him. What happened is between him and God and the victims.”
Akon’s comments were, however, criticized by a number of people on social media. Take a look at some of the reactions below:
I mean, R. Kelly really shouldn’t have any more life that isn’t in jail after everything he’s done. https://t.co/og7i6ikqPo— Jonny (@yoshifan331) October 1, 2021
You mean repeated mistakes that span well over a decade of him going after underage girls and threatening to use his fame and and influence to keep the truth from ever being known… yeah okay— AMW 🥶 (@Collegekidd_17) October 3, 2021
@Akon is not wrong but hes not right when it comes to R.Kelly, no Justice no forgiveness. hes been messing with underage girls, teenage girls for years, How do you redeem self for shit like that, I can’t understand. R.Kelly is a predator who needs to be off the streets & Therapy.— Alex_P_Mizu🐍🦇 (@MizuMusashi) October 1, 2021
Those are pretty big mistakes though bro, and repeated over many years.— Matthew Andrade (@Andrade_7) October 1, 2021
@Akon yeah I don’t think you should have a say in this R Kelly matter either… just because your charges were dropped from stealing cars.R Kelly did way worse things than you and can’t compare them. #Educate yourself before looking dumb please. #Crazy #LockHimUp #ThrowAwayTheKey— Malaea Andrea (@Love_Moca94) October 1, 2021