Eight Times R. Kelly Should’ve Been Muted
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know by now that R&B singer R. Kelly is possibly the most controversial news story to date outside of the federal government shutdown. Kelly, who is well-known for popular songs like “Bump N’ Grind” and “I Believe I Can Fly,” is finally getting what he deserves after years of allegations stemming from his love for underage girls — yuck. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the new Lifetime docuseries where real life victims share their experiences on Surviving R. Kelly yet, you can watch it here. However, be mindful if you are a survivor of assault or simply an ally because it’s super triggering.
Celebrities, like Jada Pinkett Smith, Meek Mill and John Legend who appear in the documentary, have recently voiced their frustrations about the singer who has amassed a reputation for being a predator spanning as early as the 90s. Yet, it seems that their voices are collectively coming a little too late. It has been almost three decades, and Kelly has only earned a slap on the wrist for his actions, causing more victims to surface, but his music to still thrives.
If you look on Kelly’s Twitter or Instagram page, he’s still performing and seemingly unbothered by the uproar. One can imagine that he isn’t taking things too seriously because every time reports resurface like the ones made in the docuseries, things become quiet again and he’s back to making music again. Clearly, he’s not hurting for fans or money, which is exactly the problem.
Let’s explore some pivotal moments where muting R. Kelly should have happened:
1. Releases Song with Lyrics: “I don’t see nothing wrong”
In 1993, R. Kelly released the infamous song “Bump N’ Grind” on his debut solo studio album, 12 Play. The song was considered one of the sexiest songs of its time, earning the singer a number one single on the US Billboard Hot 100 and spending twelve weeks at number one on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. In 1994, it became the longest-running number one song and R&B single of the time.
It wasn’t questionable that such a hit record flooded the airways during a period when New Jack Swing dominated the R&B airways and Jodeci was hitting the scene that same year with a much smoother — but more sexually suggestive sound with lyrics like
“My mind’s tellin’ me no, but my body, my body’s tellin’ me yes
Baby, I don’t wanna hurt nobody
But there is something that I must confess (to you)”
…are suspect in themselves. If we were to examine those lyrics today, like many of us who have repeated them mindlessly over the years, we realize that it not only sounds like the man can’t control himself, but that these lyrics were early (yet mild) signs that something wasn’t right about R. Kelly.
2. Kelly Marries 15-year-old Aaliyah
Beautiful songstress, Aaliyah, was only 15 years old when R. Kelly married her one year after his debut album released. Based on reports and an actual marriage license, the couple wed on August 31, 1994. Kelly’s former assistant revealed that the document was forged as it shows Aaliyah being the age 18 — when in reality she was an underage teenager. It’s not that far fetched to believe this “rumor” that’s already been proven as a fact because Kelly and Aaliyah worked closely on her first album, Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number, which he executive produced.
The album features Kelly standing creepily in the background on the cover, and her title track off the album, “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number,” has lyrics that sound like pure brainwashing.
“Age ain’t nothing but a number
Throwing down ain’t nothing but a thing
This something I have for you it’ll never change
Age ain’t nothing but a number
Throwing down ain’t nothing but a thing
This something I have for you it’ll never change”
Despite Aaliyah’s mom denying the whole thing, the Cook County Clerk’s Office of Illinois reportedly confirmed the details of the marriage.
3. The Infamous Sex Tape Where He Pee’s On a 14-year-old
Back in 2002, Kelly was arrested and indicted on 21 charges of child pornography, following the Chicago Police Department’s investigation of a sex tape that showed him urinating in a 14 year olds mouth. The Chicago Sun-Times originally reported about the 26-minute video that showed him demanding the girl to call him “daddy” before performing the illicit act.
In 2000, Kelly had already been sued by fellow Chicago native, Tiffany Hawkins, and participating in a relationship with a then 17-year-old Tracy Sampson.
“During my relationship with Robert Kelly, I lost my virginity to him. I was lied to by him. I was coerced into receiving oral sex from a girl I did not want to have sex with. I was often treated as his personal sex object and cast aside. He would tell me to come to his studio and have sex with him then tell me to go. He often tried to control every aspect of my life including who I would see and where I would go.” — Tracy Sampson, The Sun-Times
4. Storms Out of Huffington Post Interview
I guess everyone has their triggers. During an interview with BuzzFeed host, Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani, Kelly became frustrated with her questioning the controversy around his personal life possibly affecting his album sales. His 13th studio album, Buffet, was projected to sell 10,000 copies less than his previous album, Black Panties, at the time.
“I didn’t come here for negative. I came here for positive. I don’t give people that are negative towards me the time of day … When you start getting negativity coming at you, you pretty much don’t wanna hear that crap. Especially if it was, what, I don’t know how many years ago. So what I’m gonna tell you is that I am going to sit here and talk gonna talk to you like the beautiful lady you are and I’m gonna talk to you with respect, but I’m gonna let you know that any other negative things come at me out of your mouth, as far as negativity, I’m gonna get up and walk out and I’m gonna go to McDonald’s. Hopefully, the McRib is out and I’m going to go home to Chicago, play me some basketball, go to the studio and work on my next album.” — R. Kelly, Huffington Post
5. Goes Public About a Relationship with a 19-year-old
In 2016, the then 49-year-old proudly showcased his relationship with his 19-year-old girlfriend, Halle Calhoun. The YBF shared the news that the two were photographed at an Atlanta party together, and although they were violating any laws, the fact that she was nearly 30 years younger than him proved that he’s into women who are extremely under his age limit.
49 year old R.Kelly has allegedly found love w/ his 19 year old gf. What's an acceptable age gap for dating? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/UWX5Z1mv1R
— REVOLT TV (@revolttv) August 8, 2016
6. “Sex Cult” Allegations Published by BuzzFeed
One of the biggest stories to come out of 2017 was published by BuzzFeed, who reported that the singer was maintaining a “sex cult” that included the parents of a 19-year-old aspiring singer who discovered their daughter was being held against her will. Other women close to Kelly’s camp also confirmed that six other women live in properties purchased by him where he controls their routines from eating and sleeping to sexual encounters.
If that wasn’t enough, the victim’s father named J explained what it was like when he saw his daughter for the first time again.
“It was as if she was brainwashed. [She] looked like a prisoner — it was horrible,” he said. “I hugged her and hugged her. But she just kept saying she’s in love and [Kelly] is the one who cares for her. I don’t know what to do. I hope that if I get her back, I can get her treatment for victims of cults. They can reprogram her. But I wish I could have stopped it from happening.” — J., BuzzFeed
To see your child that way and fear for her mental and physical well-being is disgusting. With news surfacing around the topic so heavily, it’s easy to question — why were people still supporting his career?
7. Releases Song Titled “I Admit”
In a truly self-righteous move, Kelly released “I Admit” last year. The 19-minute song that is purely a waste of a good track didn’t include anything criminalizing (of course), and simply served as a cathartic release for him not being a “good man.”
8. His Attorney Denies All Lifetime Series, Surviving R. Kelly, Claims.
Last on our list is R. Kelly’s attorney — who will probably spew Kelly’s lies until his death — denied all claims that were made by victims featured in the Lifetime special. Chicago attorney, Steve Greenberg, dismissed all of the claims stating that they were false (of course).
If it takes so long to criminalize someone’s behavior, then why would victims quickly speak out?
Spotify has gone on to confirm that streaming of his songs has actually increased in the past month. Crazy, right? To think that we would live in a world where a pedophile could be honored for his musical achievements in spite of being a sexual predator.