Why R. Kelly’s Trial Is Captivating Black Audiences Online

Why R. Kelly’s Trial Is Captivating Black Audiences Online


The trial of the R&B superstar R. Kelly has featured some 50 witnesses across more than a month of testimony — a blizzard of sordid and sometimes grotesque accusations and counterclaims.

For help making sense of it all, hundreds of thousands of viewers have turned to YouTube, where a host who posts videos as thePLAINESTjane offers near-daily recaps that sometimes stretch 90 minutes long and include the same images and documents seen in the courtroom.

“Come on in, have a seat on my bus,” the presenter said at the outset of one recent video, sitting next to a house plant, a collage featuring a courtroom sketch of Mr. Kelly superimposed over her shoulder. “I’m going to pick you up and give you the rundown.”

The channel is just one cog in an expansive online ecosystem that has…



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