On the fifth anniversary of the first Fashion Meets Music Festival, new details surface about the decision to remove the controversial R&B singer from the bill.

When the inaugural Fashion Meets Music Festival announced R. Kelly as a headliner in June 2014, the decision was met with immediate public blowback owing to the R&B singer’s long history of alleged sexual abuse, which had received renewed attention in the months following the December 2013 publication of a viral Village Voice article.

In the immediate aftermath of the announcement, local electro-pop duo Damn the Witch Siren posted an open letter to the organizers decrying the selection, eventually withdrawing from the festival. Folk-rock act Saintseneca followed suit, and local radio station WCBE 90.5 FM also withdrew its sponsorship.

Additionally, one national headlining act threatened to drop off the bill unless FMMF cut ties with Kelly, which the festival did in July 2014, releasing a statement that read, in part, “Fashion Meets Music Festival and headlining artist R. Kelly have come to the mutual decision to cancel Kelly’s upcoming performance.”

 Continue reading Andy Downing's story at Columbus Alive.