Right now a lot of people in City Hall are probably wishing they'd never heard the name "R. Kelly." After multiple entreaties to the mayor's office, late Tuesday afternoon the Press received an official statement about R&B star and alleged pedophile R. Kelly's upcoming appearance at Free Press Summer Fest in June, perhaps the most-discussed subject on Houston social media since the festival's lineup was announced last week. The message was delivered via email from Janice Evans, Chief Policy Officer and Director of Communications for the Office of Mayor Annise Parker:
Photo by Ed Schipul via Flickr "Can't we just go back to listening to people complain about potholes?"
This is a privately-produced event. Our concern is that the organizers abide by all the permitting requirements for such an event. Those requirements do not include city approval of the participants. We have nothing to do with booking the performers.
So there you have it. But we also learned more about the meeting that took place Monday night between FPSF founders Omar Afra and Jagi Katial and members of the community who are upset with the decision to book Kelly. Among them were representatives of local nonprofit Girls Rock Camp Houston, who posted the following open letter to FSPF's producers on the GRCH Facebook page Tuesday afternoon: