Robert Kelly, known as R Kelly is one of our generations biggest musical legends. With smashes like I Believe I can Fly, Step In The Name of Love, Ignition, he’s earned many, many accolades. Big accolades like multiple BET awards and Soul Train awards. I mean in 1998, he won three grammy’s alone and all for the same song.
Literally, everyone knows this song. And if you don’t, now you do because I mentioned it above. I sang this song in my elementary graduation when I was just a little girl in the year None of Your Business. I Believe I Can Fly has been etched in our culture for good.
Now, here’s what happens. In 1994, he marries Aaliyah who was 15 at the time. Aaliyah’s hit, ‘Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number” sparked rumors that Aaliyah and the writer of that song, yes, R Kelly, were boyfriend and girlfriend. These rumors were denied. Aaliyah died in a plane crash in 2001 at the age of 22. Kelly had nothing to do with the plane crash, he just married someone who was barely a teenager at the time.
Back in February 2002, a video surfaced. We all know the video. This video included Kelly allegedly engaging in sexual behaviors with an underage (14 years old) girl. In this same video, the man allegedly identified as Kelly, is seen urinating in her mouth.
In 2008, he goes on trial for multiple counts child pornography.
Now, a lifetime series titled “Surviving R Kelly” comes out, which brings up the heat in the controversy all over again. To me, it seems like the topic was hot for a couple of days, maybe a little bit over a week and now, nobody’s talking about it… again.
Now some, including myself, would call him a musical genius, a legend, even. But since the docuseries, artists have publicized their opinions, labels have dropped him and musical platforms have muted him.
In the streets, the debate became, can we separate the monster from his music? Everyone here, in my tiny NYC apartment, has jammed to R Kelly at one point, whether we were stepping in the name of love at a wedding, graduating to I Believe I Can Fly, or getting lit to Remix to Ignition.
Here’s my opinion. I’m not going to take the mans music away from him. But, I haven’t played R Kelly in ages. What? Ya’ll were too busy stepping in the name of love to realize that this man is not a decent one.
Let me know… I just want people to keep talking about it because it’s important.