“Soulless” is what happens when entertainment and investigative journalism intersect to shine a light on a horror that impacted young Black girls and women in Chicago and beyond. Earlier this summer, I got the opportunity to interview one of my earliest media mentors Jim DeRogatis, who originally broke the story on allegations that now disgraced R&B superstar R. Kelly engaged in a pattern of grooming, sexually abusing and then paying off young girls. Over a decade after Kelly largely beat those accusations, developments in the case and increased attention brought by Lifetime documentary and the #MuteRKelly campaign, Kelly is behind bars awaiting a trial on federal charges and DeRogatis has published a revealing account of his dogged pursuit of the truth and his concern for young Black women and girls who are all too often discarded and disregarded.

 #MuteRKelly co-founders Kenyette Barnes and Oronike Odeleye joined DeRogatis in conversation, sharing their powerful protest of Kelly that has all but eradicated Kelly’s touring potential and placed the attention where it belongs: the young ladies whose lives have been forever impacted by not only Kelly, but by sexual predators all over the country.

If you’ve got some time, check out video from the event, powered by the Chicago Humanities Festival and held at the Chop Shop in Chicago’s Wicker Park. Ignore the comments, ‘cuz…R.Kelly-apologist trolls are in full effect.

Because CHF understands that one cannot care for their community without care for themselves, volunteers from ResilienceBetween Friends and OurMusicMyBody will be available throughout the program to offer support. If you are feeling triggered, overwhelmed or just need to take a moment away from the conversation, our volunteers are here for you.