Fact Check

Are These Real Photos of R. Kelly Doing Shows in Prison?

The singer was sentenced to decades in prison for child sex crimes.

Published Apr 27, 2023

 (Screenshot via Twitter/DanielMarven)
Image Via Screenshot via Twitter/DanielMarven
Photographs authentically show R. Kelly performing concerts in prison.

The photographs were AI-generated and there is no evidence that Kelly has performed a concert while in prison.

On April 25, 2023, photographs appeared online of singer R. Kelly in which he seemingly performed in front of a large crowd in prison while wearing an orange jumpsuit. 

The disgraced R&B singer was convicted in February 2023 of child sex crimes and sentenced to 20 years in prison. He had already been serving a 30-year prison sentence after being found guilty of sex trafficking and racketeering in 2022. A judge ruled that all but one year of the 20-year sentence would be served at the same time as the previous sentence. 

Twitter user @danielmarvin posted the the photographs, writing, "Bruh what??  Is R.Kelly really packin out shows in lockup??" Two photographs seemingly showed Kelly walking in an orange jumpsuit surrounded by an entourage, wearing gold chains in one of the pictures. A separate photograph shows a crowd of men in orange jumpsuits apparently watching a performance. In another, Kelly appears to be performing in a bright orange jacket. 

These photographs are not real, nor is there any evidence that R. Kelly performed a concert in prison. The images were AI-generated. Even if these pictures were authentic, R. Kelly is not visibly present in the image of the crowd, and pictures of him walking around in orange jumpsuits with an entourage are not proof enough that an actual concert took place in prison. 

According to news reports from April 25, Kelly had been transferred to a federal prison in North Carolina. The FCI Butner Medium I, where Kelly had been transferred, is a medium-security facility. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons' "Notification to Visitor" forms, recording equipment, cameras, radios, electronic devices, telephones, and other such equipment are prohibited. With such strict rules, it is unlikely that a federal prison would host a concert featuring such a high profile entertainer who is also incarcerated there. Prior to this, Kelly was in the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) Chicago.

According to Kelly's attorneys, he "continues to suffer from health issues caused by medical negligence at the MCC Chicago. We are hopeful that Butner will ensure that his medical needs are met." They said that Kelly had surgery in his Achilles tendon. 

Under the circumstances, it's highly improbably that such a concert could have taken place. If it had, it would have generated plenty of news coverage. As such we rate this claim as "False." 


Chiarito, Robert, and Julia Jacobs. "R. Kelly Sentenced to 20 Years for Child Sex Crimes." The New York Times, 23 Feb. 2023. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/02/23/arts/music/r-kelly-sentenced-federal-child-sex-crimes.html. Accessed Apr. 27, 2023. 

"Notification to Visitor." Federal Bureau of Prisons, www.bop.gov/policy/forms/BP_A0224.pdf. Accessed Apr. 27, 2023. 

Parks, Brad and Michelle Watson. "R. Kelly Transferred to Federal Prison in North Carolina." CNN, 25 Apr. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/04/25/us/r-kelly-transferred-north-carolina-prison/index.html. Accessed Apr. 27, 2023. 

"R. Kelly Had Surgery Due to Negligent Care inside Chicago Prison, His Lawyer Says." ABC7 Chicago, 29 Mar. 2023, https://abc7chicago.com/r-kelly-mcc-chicago-news-jennifer-bonjean/13038359/. Accessed Apr. 27, 2023. 

"Singer R. Kelly Moved from Chicago to North Carolina Prison after Apparent Surgery." ABC7 Chicago, 24 Apr. 2023, https://abc7chicago.com/r-kelly-nc-prison-chicago-crime/13181681/. Accessed Apr. 27, 2023. 

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.