Well it only took about 15 years, or 15 days, depending where you want to start your R. KELLY clock, but RCA RECORDS has rid itself of the most toxic star in pop music. More or less. RCA still owns Kelly's back catalog, which is to say, pretty much the entirety of Kelly's commercially viable material. A half measure, as MIKE EHRMANTRAUT might put it. But is there any doubt that dropping him was the right thing to do? Though RCA and parent company SONY said nothing in public as outrage against Kelly grew, and though they continue to say nothing—news of the divorce came at the end of last week from anonymous inside sources—the NEW YORK TIMES reports the label and Kelly's lawyers began discussing the breakup "well before the release of the LIFETIME documentary [SURVIVING R. KELLY] but after the #MuteRKelly movement had gained momentum." In other words, on the late side, but not quite as late as it may have seemed. There were, no doubt, complicated contracts involved. But if major label contracts don't have uncomplicated morals clauses that cover the kinds of things Kelly stands accused of doing by multiple young women, may I suggest now would be a good time to start? Kelly has denied the accusations, and hasn't been convicted of anything. It took MIRAMAX two days to fire HARVEY WEINSTEIN allegations of sexual harassment against the movie mogul first appeared. He hasn't been convicted of anything either. It seems reasonably clear, even if internal discussions began before it aired, that LIFETIME's three-night series "Surviving R Kelly" was the turning point, the event that left the label with no other choice. The power of television. But also the power of women's voices. What may have seemed abstract, or deniable, to a lot of music fans and music execs when reported in print and online over the years turned into a universal gut-punch when Kelly's victims got in front of a camera and, over the course of six hours of riveting and horrifying television, told their stories. Kelly will still be able to release music, of course. One of his advisers told the New York Times other labels are interested (wow if true, but also: of course), and there will always be direct-to-fan options like SOUNDCLOUD and YOUTUBE. Although Kelly collaborations have started to disappear from streaming services, at the behest of his collaborators, the bulk of his catalog is still there. But SPOTIFY, which stumbled last year in trying to programmatically punish Kelly, XXXTENTACION and other controversial artists, is now reportedly giving users the option to do it themselves, with an artist mute button... Spotify is also coming for your car... BEBE REXHA says "a lot of designers" have declined to dress her for the GRAMMYS, because she is—gasp—a size 6–8... OZZY OSBOURNE celebrated "the 37th Anniversary since I bit a head off a f***ing bat" with this early contender for rock merch of the year... CHRISETTE MICHELE had ample warning that her decision to perform at an inaugural ball for PRESIDENT TRUMP would not work out well for her, and ample opportunity to back out. She didn't. CLEVE R. WOOTSON JR.'s profile of a singer with a very different career two years later is a great read on the very real politics of pop... RIP REGGIE YOUNG and NICK REDMAN.