Wednesday, September 14, 2022

R. Kelly Convicted on Federal Child Porn Charges in Chicago

R. Kelly

The jury is in and once again R. Kelly has been found guilty.

The once revered R&B singer who was already sentenced to 30 years in prison in June following a 2021 federal conviction in New York on racketeering and sex trafficking charges, including the sexual exploitation of children, was found guilty on Wednesday of three counts of child pornography and three counts of child enticement by another panel of peers in his hometown of Chicago.

Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, is facing 10 to 90 years of additional prison time at sentencing. A judge could determine that the sentence be served simultaneously with his previous conviction or after the first term is served. Either way, since federal inmates must serve at least 85% of their sentences, he is not likely to see a shot at freedom until well into his 80s, if at all.

"Mr. Kelly engaged in multiple sex acts with girls under the age of 18 and he recorded some of those sex acts on video," said U.S. Attorney John Lausch following the conclusion of the trial. "We are pleased with the fact that Robert Kelly is finally being held accountable for that reprehensible conduct. We are particularly pleased that Robert Kelly is finally, finally being held responsible for the abuse of his 14-year-old goddaughter."

While he was found guilty on six of the 13 counts he faced the jury did acquit Kelly on a fourth pornography count as well as a conspiracy to obstruct justice charge. The latter for accusing him of fixing his state child pornography trial in 2008. He was also found not guilty on all three counts of conspiring to receive child pornography and on other charges of enticement.

Kelly's co-defendants, former business manager Derrel McDavid and employee Milton "June" Brown, were cleared of all charges.

R&B Vocalist, Jesse Powell, Dead at 51

               © Facebook/ Jesse Powell 
Jesse Powell, the Grammy-nominated R&B vocalist with a four-octave range best known for his hit "You" — that peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (No. 2 R&B) in 1999 — has died according to a statement from his family. He was 51.

Jesse's sister Tamara, who along with his other younger sister Trina comprised the popular 1990s R&B group Trina & Tamara, took to Instagram early Wednesday morning to share the news.

She wrote: "It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of our beloved son, brother, and uncle Jesse Powell.

"He passed away peacefully in his Los Angeles home. The family asks for privacy at this time as we mourn this tremendous loss and celebrate his everlasting legacy.

"Jesse loved music and he especially loved his fans who supported him throughout his career. We want you all to know that you meant the world to him. – The Powell Family."

No cause was given for the death which came just two days after his birthday.

The Gary, Indiana, native matriculated from a musical family and grew up performing with his mother and three siblings at talent shows in the family group Sheer Joy.

Powell got his big break when Louis Silas, Jr., founder of MCA imprint Silas Records, signed him shortly after hearing him sing at an artist showcase in Los Angeles.

He released four studio albums during his career.

His eponymously named debut in 1996 was a moderate success peaking at No. 35 on the Billboard R&B chart. Powell's second album 1989's “'Bout It," thanks to the success of the single "You," a ballad also featured on his first album was certified gold.

The singer followed those releases with "JP" in 2001 and "Jesse" in 2003 before seemingly retiring from music.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Legendary Jazz Pianist and Pop Star, Ramsey Lewis, Dies at 87

KPLU RadioCC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A piano prodigy who transcended his work as one of America's finest jazz musicians to become a pop star, Ramsey Lewis, has died.

According to his son, Bobby Lewis, the three-time Grammy Award winner died peacefully in his sleep Monday night at his Chicago home. He was 87.

“Most people say when they met dad that he was a class act," Lewis told The Associated Press of his father's passing. "He was that way even through his last breath.”

A Chicago native, the elder Lewis began playing piano at four. He found jazz and popular music success in the 1960s with his acclaimed Ramsey Lewis Trio, thanks to hits like "The 'In' Crowd," “Hang on Sloopy” and “Wade in the Water.”

The three records' fusion of gospel, R&B and rock —spurred on by Lewis' play on the piano made them million-plus sellers and they account for three of his seven gold records.

"The 'In' Crowd," an instrumental cover of Dobie Gray's R&B hit from 1964, was the group's most popular effort. It peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1965 and No. 2 on the Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart.

Throughout a career that spanned six decades, Lewis toured around the world, released more than 80 albums, performed with titans of music like Aretha Franklin and Tony Bennett and played for heads of state.

Following the news of his death several friends, fans and contemporaries took to the internet to mourn his passing.

Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson wrote on Twitter, "RamseyLewis, from Chicago’s West Side & one of the greatest musicians of all time, has died. For more than 40 years, we were neighbors. Our children grew up together."

Jackson added, "He had a kinship with musicians."