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I am a 30-something black woman who grew up listening, marveling even, over Robert Kelly (I’ll take TP2 over 12 Play ANY DAY). Many in my generation, male or female did. And for the obvious reasons. Despite how you may feel about him morally, he was and still is a musical genius. How he navigated from R&B’s raunchy bad boy to religious and inspiring melodies effortlessly was something I’d never seen growing up. I was intrigued. And him being easy on the eyes didn’t hurt.
Now that the question of whether I’m a fan is out the way, let’s move on.
Last night, I along with the rest of the world tuned in for part one of Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly documentary. The three-night, six-hour event that followed the almost 52-year-old’s (his birthday is January 8) decades-long accusations of sexual assault, child pornography and the most recent allegations of holding women hostage in a sex cult was finally here.
I was stunned. And sad. And annoyed. And angry. And exhausted (you can read more of my thoughts here).
But this isn’t about the survivors who so bravely spoke out about their traumatic experiences with Kelly or I Admit, the 19-minute song he released shortly after the trailer dropped. It isn’t even about his two brothers confirming he was molested by a family member and bullied at school for not knowing how to read and write well. We’ve all seen the sex tape, heard about his relationship with Aaliyah (her mother tried to shut down the rumors before the documentary aired last night with a statement), the sex cult accusations and the ever-growing #MuteRKelly movement in light of #MeToo, #TimesUp and the successful takedown of Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, and Matt Lauer.
But can you TRULY stop R. Kelly? Sure you can do like Tom Joyner and vow to never play his music again. Or absolutely not purchase concert tickets, stream his music (he dropped a new song, Born To My Music on January 1st) or buy the albums. But because of his enormous writing credits, even though you may not be listening to his voice, chances are you’re still listening to music he wrote or produced, thereby inadvertently keeping money in his pocket. Don’t believe me? Below are just SOME of the songs he’s written for many of your favorites.
Get my drift? And if you don’t know how television works, despite threatening to sue Lifetime if they aired the series, Kelly likely made a TON of money from the network in music and video licensing fees if he still owns his publishing. So, yeah. While I applaud the beautiful women involved in the movement to silence the singer, if not successful, what is the next step? If he’s never convicted of the alleged crimes, what then?
And while I hate to be that person, in the insanely horrific words of Kelly, “they should’ve done this 30 years ago.”
TELL US: Does the #MuteRKelly hashtag hold any REAL weight?
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