The Forum in Inglewood, California is an indoor arena owned by the Faithful Central Bible Church, which uses it for its Sunday morning service.

The Forum can seat up to 18,000 and was once home to the L.A. Lakers, L.A. Kings, and L.A. Sparks, until the Staples Center came along in downtown Los Angeles.

Faithful Central Bible Church under the direction of Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer is one of Los Angeles’ mega churches boasting weekly attendance of it’s Sunday service in the thousands.

Forum Enterprises, Inc. purchased The Forum in December 2000. Dr. Kenneth C. Ulmer, is the President & CEO of Forum Enterprises, Inc.

On December 14, 2007, The Forum will host R. Kelly…again and I’m just wondering, at what point do we just say no.

Let me recap this for you.

R Kelly was looking at finally having to go to trial for 14 counts of child pornography in September of this year.  A case that has been in the making for five years now.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported back on September 6th that Judge Vincent Gaughan said that the trial would not begin on Sept. 17 as planned. Gaughan gave no explanation for the postponement. However, his media liaison Terry Sullivan e-mailed reporters shortly afterward stating that lead prosecutor Shauna Boliker gave birth to a son last week and “is not able to proceed at this time” because of "doctor’s orders."

The case, which began in 2002, has been pushed back repeatedly due to bickering between the defense and prosecution. Then, in July 2006, Gaughan fell off of a ladder and his Chicago home and took a time out to recuperate. When he returned, Gaughan had to preside over the trial of now-convicted Brown’s Chicken killer Juan Luna.

But prior to the Sun-Times’ report, R&B singer Keyshia Cole slipped up and told MTV News on August 24th that she’ll embark on a tour with R. Kelly sometime in October.  Mind you this was before the trial was pushed back.      

According to MTV, Cole broke the news during an interview, stating: "We’re actually going on tour together in October." 

Shortly after Cole’s slip of the tongue, R. Kelly’s camp issued this statement on August 27th:

"Reports that R. Kelly is planning a concert tour in October are not true. Kelly is currently focused on preparing for his trial and has no definite plans for anything beyond that."

On October 5th, R. Kelly announced his fall tour. Surprise, surprise.

When the tour was announced, the December 14th Los Angeles show was listed as being held at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.  Today’s it’s listed as being held at The Forum, bring in Faithful Central Bible Church which uses The Forum as it’s for-profit entity and holds its Sunday services there.

Opening for R. Kelly is none other than “Let It Go” Keyshia Cole.  A Black female who obviously takes no issue with R. Kelly’s child pornography case or his past relationships with underage females, because I’m sure that if she did, she’d have “Let It Go.”

Black people continue to give this man a pass because we love music.  We continue to make all of albums platinum and roll out the red carpet for him everywhere he goes.  Regardless of his appetite for young girls, don’t forget about Aaliyah.  This isn’t the first time R. Kelly’s been caught with an underage female.

It’s bad enough that his trial continues to get pushed back and that he’s on tour instead of being on trial.  But now to have a church, via it’s holdings, play host to a man accused of 14 counts of child pornography is absolutely ridiculous.  He’s clearly someone whose alleged actions seem to be in complete contradiction with the church’s mission and vision.

But I guess a dollar is a dollar.

And I am almost sure that the concert will be sold out and the audience will be primarily Black.  After all, we can’t stop steppin’ to his music long enough to recognize that R. Kelly has 14 counts of child pornography against him.  Child pornography.  Not to mention a very questionable video floating around out there showing him engaging in sexual behavior with a minor.

But let me be clear.  You cannot preach that children are the future and that you’re against child abuse and that pedophilia is wrong and then not use your influence to prevent an alleged pedophile from performing in a venue that you own.  They may not have sole discretion over performances booked, but there’s no denying that Faithful Central does have some say in who performs there.

In fact, I’d be interested in knowing why the show was moved from the Staples Center to The Forum in the first damn place.

Maybe it has something to do with Faithful Central, or rather The Forum Enterprises, Inc., 2006 federal lawsuit claiming that AEG violated their exclusive booking contract by scheduling too few events at the Torum and diverting business to other AEG-affiliated venues like the Staples Center.

Since the 18,000-seat Forum entered into agreements with the company approximately seven years ago, the amount of events booked "has not happened at any significant level," said Forum Enterprises’ attorney Johnny Griggs of Los Angeles’ Strategic Counsel.

The suit alleges that AEG, which owns and operates Los Angeles’ Staples Center and other venues in Southern California, used its exclusive rights to try to put the Forum out of business.

"The lawsuit is really about AEG’s anticompetitive behavior in the market as well as its failure to perform under the agreement," Griggs said, adding that about 12 events were booked at the Forum in the past year.
"Ten of them were booked by and through the efforts of the Forum and its agents, rather than the efforts of AEG."

Michael Roth, VP of communications at AEG, says the lawsuit is nothing more than an effort to circumvent the exclusive rights that were granted to AEG.

"We categorically deny all of the allegations made by Forum Enterprises in their complaint," Roth said. "Not only will we vigorously defend ourselves against these merit-less allegations, (but) we intend to pursue claims against Forum Enterprises for their breeches of the booking agreement which has been in place since they acquired the Forum from AEG nearly six years ago."

The lawsuit  which also names Anschutz Corp., AEG Live, AEG Concerts and Goldenvoice, seeks $5 million for lost revenue over the years. Griggs believes the sum is conservative.

"We’re just at the beginning," he said. "We’ll be determining with more precision how much is at issue."

So then did the church lobby for the show to be held at The Forum rather at the Staples Center?  And is the reason for their silence more about dollars than common sense?

Who do you think AEG, the promoters for The Forum are going to be marketing this show towards?  I can tell it’s not going to be John and Jane Doe in Westwood but more like Tameka and Devon Jones in Los Angeles.

And finally, it all seems awfully hypocritical to me.  As hypocritical as this message, which can be found on the official website of the Faithful Central Bible Church:

No matter what area of ministry we are involved in with the youth, we believe that young people are very precious and dear to the heart of God. In some ways, they are like precious ripe fruit. With proper nourishment and care, they will grow and not only lead purposed and effective lives, but also influence and shape future generations for Christ.”

All I want to know is whether or not that includes young Black girls too.

Until R. Kelly goes to trial and is either found guilty or not guilty, we need not be pushing him in our community as if he doesn’t have 14 COUNTS OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY PENDING AGAINST HIM.

The Forum
3900 W. Manchester Blvd.
Inglewood, CA 90305
Office: 310.330.7300
Box Office: 310.330.7340
Box Office Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Faithful Central Bible Church

Administrative Offices
333 W. Florence Ave.
Inglewood, CA 90301
Church Office: 310.330.8000
Toll Free: 800.377-9782
Fax: 310.330.8035
Office Hours: Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

AEG Corporate Headquarters – Los Angeles
1100 South Flower Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 763-7700