In typical badass Ava DuVernay style, the filmmaker is fearlessly taking on one of the #MeToo movement's forgotten foes.
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On April 30, DuVernay joined forces with women of color in the #MeToo movement by declaring support for #MuteRKelly, an online call to action demanding that Live Nation and Sony Music to drop R&B singer R. Kelly from his recording contract and cancel his tour dates.
We join the call to #MuteRKelly and insist on the safety + dignity of all women. We demand investigations into R. K… https://t.co/31cJIWf1iU— Ava DuVernay (@Ava DuVernay) 1525092329
Other incredible black women celebrities, including Lena Waithe and Shonda Rimes, are joining the cause, too, according to a statement also released April 30.
We join the campaign to #MuteRKelly. We're calling on corporations to cut all ties with R. Kelly and insist on safe… https://t.co/zdxgKGvuSJ— jurnee smollett (@jurnee smollett) 1525093051
Kelly's disgusting behavior has been well documented though largely ignored.
For decades, multiple women have accused the popular singer of aggravated assault, statutory rape, and harassment.
In 2000, Kelly was accused of statutory rape and numerous other charges followed in the years after. Most recently, reports surfaced of Kelly running a "sex cult" that entailed Kelly holding young girls against their will, and controlling their every move with only minimal impact on his career. Instead, Kelly has often been the brunt off of-the-cuff jokes.
To make matters worse, Most of Kelly's victims have been black women, and have yet to receive any sort of justice.
Photo by Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images.
The dude is gross, and thanks to DuVernay and other amazing women of color, time may finally be up for Kelly.
Photo by Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images.
Finally, calls to investigate Kelly and bring him to justice for his sexual misconduct appear to be sticking: The singer was recently dropped by his publicist, lawyer, and assistant. Slowly people are distancing themselves, and DuVernay will likely push that further.
DuVernay is certainly no stranger to fighting for social justice.
Importantly, she's also made it clear in her career that women should no longer be holding themselves back to appease society.
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"Women have been trained in our culture and society to ask for what we want instead of taking what we want," DuVernay said in a 2015 BlogHer keynote speech. "We've been really indoctrinated with this culture of permission. I think it's true for women, and I think it's true for people of color. It's historic, and it's unfortunate and has somehow become part of our DNA. But that time has passed."
According to a study from the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, black girls and women 12 years old and older experienced higher rates of rape and sexual assault than white, Asian, and Latina girls. Given the fact that black women and girls experience heartbreaking rates of sexual assault but are less likely to report it, DuVernay's stand matters more than ever.
When powerful women use their platforms to raise awareness and demand change, the world responds.
As the country continues to evolve in how it responds to sexual assault, it's important that we uplift all women who are survivors and make sure that their voices are heard.
DuVernay is doing just that.