The Public Enemy front man came under fire following Kelly’s conviction for sex trafficking for asking, “Does a USA system give a man a chance for a man to change his world around?”

Iconic rapper Chuck D took to Twitter on Tuesday night in an attempt to clarify an earlier tweet about R. Kelly’s conviction for sex trafficking that got him in some hot water with many on the social media platform.

Kelly has not yet been sentenced in the case, after a trial that lasted six weeks and featured many victims sharing harrowing stories. Many experts anticipate he could be facing life in prison, and it is this facet that the Public Enemy front man seemed to be talking about in his earlier tweet.

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Chuck D first mentioned that Kelly was “abused in his youth” and “an addict as a [sic] adult” before then mentioning two other Black artists who’d been imprisoned for abusing women: Ike Turner and Rick James.

He noted that Turner “came out a changed positive human being,” before asking, “How long should R Kelly spend in prison -and does a USA system give a man a chance for a man to change his world around?”

His tweet appeared to be about the concept of rehabilitation in the American justice system, and how a life sentence could take that possibility completely off the table for Kelly. Many saw it as him outright dismissing the suffering of the victims in this case, putting the focus on rehabilitation for Kelly rather than trauma support for the victims.

He quickly added a follow-up, writing, “It’s not a sympathetic question at all. Not the least.” But that tweet didn’t get nearly the attention, and it certainly didn’t do the job of getting that message across.

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As the day progressed, Chuck D continued to try and explain the seeming dichotomy of his stance, both that Kelly is very much in the wrong for his behavior and also that an overly harsh sentence precludes any chance at rehabilitation. He also alleged that the very industry Kelly came to dominate may have fueled his criminal predilections.

But as the backlash growing throughout the afternoon, and the media picking up his tweet, Chuck D put out another tweet wherein he clarified, “I’m not the R Kelly fan here.” He noted that he doesn’t own any of Kelly’s music and emphasized that Kelly’s “actions were criminal.”

The rapper wrote, “My apologies if the wings of perception loomed beyond than the words on this slaveApp,” referring to Twitter itself, before pitching his own upcoming social media platform, where he says his “clarity” will launch.

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You can check out some of Chuck D’s earlier attempts to offer his “clarity” below:


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