So I’m watching the R Kelly thing

I’ve always either been indifferent to or actively disliked ’90s R&B. I can appreciate catchy, well-constructed songs in the genre and understand why they become hits, but it’s not my thing.

Even with my limited, peripheral knowledge of R&B, though, I knew all about R Kelly’s sexual proclivities. It was all over the place. And once it was more widely exposed it continued to be all over the place.

Had I been a fan, I wouldn’t have stopped listening to his music. It wouldn’t have bothered me. I’ve forgiven far worse from certain artists that I’ve listened to for years. I wouldn’t have given him any money, though. I wouldn’t have gone to see him live. I wouldn’t have wanted to support his behavior. But people have. A lot of people. He’s still a superstar.

The hype and shock surrounding the documentary miniseries about him was a little baffling to me at first, as all of this info has been well-documented throughout the years, until I stopped and thought it through.

Until now, the whole thing has been a “girls getting peed on” punchline. It’s been downplayed. Someone mentions R Kelly, someone else makes a pee joke, everybody laughs, change of subject.

When faced with real women talking about their gut-churning experiences with him, though, and looking at pics of these girls at 14 and 15 and going “Wow, he really messed them up,” it’s become real to them. It’s not just a hilarious Chappelle Show sketch anymore. It’s lives ruined, it’s permanent trauma. It’s threats and power and control.

There’s a ton of guys like this, and it’s absolutely appropriate that they be called out on this behavior. Remember how Roman Polanski raped a girl and continued to make critically-acclaimed films while hiding in France?

And one doesn’t have to be a celebrity to be a skilled manipulator of women. It’s not that difficult. All it takes is confidence and assertiveness and a vulnerable victim.

Only difference is, it takes a lot to take down a high-profile celebrity, as far as sexual abuse goes. I mean, they can tweet something politically incorrect and be erased from public consciousness forever, but rape? Eh, give ’em a couple years away and everyone will forget.

Bill Cosby raped a small rural town’s population worth of women, and it was swept under the rug for decades. Don’t tell me no one knew about it. Come on. It took that many women to come forward for anything to be done about it. It’s too bad he didn’t say something transphobic in public, the PC police that be would’ve shot him into space, never to be seen again. All he did was rape a lot of women, though. NBD.

It took a lot to bring down Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and now R Kelly. R Kelly’s career has flourished even as people knew all about his proclivities.

I mean, I still have a hard time accepting that the Michael Jackson accusations are true. I was in denial about it for the longest time, but it’s just too much stuff. Too many red flags. I still listen to Bad and Thriller, though, so I totally get people remaining fans of R Kelly. Nothing any artist that I like does will ever prevent me from listening to their back catalog. Like I said, I just stop giving them money.

That’s why we continue to give these people passes, though. Any normal person would be locked up immediately. If R Kelly had worked at 7-11, he’d be in prison right now. We let things slide because we like them. They give us something we don’t want to let go of. Or we live vicariously through them, in some cases. Look how popular Al Capone was back in his day. People like outlaws.

Vince Neil killed a guy while driving drunk. The guards brought groupies to him in jail. He never faced any real consequences. Honestly it makes Motley Crue even cooler to me than they already are. I realize that’s wrong but that’s how it is. 😆 R Kelly enjoys that same type of notoriety. It’s contributed to his bad boy mythos.

Peeing on kids isn’t cool, though. It’s weird and they are naivé young people who don’t understand how seedy the music industry can be. There’s a difference between having groupies and keeping underage girls as sex prisoners.

The guy from Tool has been accused of raping a 13YO girl. Never heard about it after the initial hoopla. Because it’s TOOL, favorite band of know-it-all atheist edgelords everywhere. And they’re a critical darling as well, so yeah, they’ll get a pass. Nothing will ever come of that. Or maybe it will, after people know about it for 20 years. Then they can act shocked when someone makes a documentary about it.

We’re all complicit in elevating people like this to pedestals so high they become untouchable. We’re enablers. I don’t feel passionately about any of it one way or the other, merely giving my observations. Anyway, interesting documentary. I wasn’t going to watch it but I got sucked in.

Update:

Okay, now that I’ve gotten further into the series, I understand why people are so shocked by it. I had no idea of the extent of his…whatever you’d call it. The whole story is far more insane than I had any idea it would be. 😂

2 thoughts on “So I’m watching the R Kelly thing

  1. This is a tough one for me, not because of R. Kelly specifically. He was never really on my cultural radar to begin with, and even now I’m only vaguely aware of what’s going on with him. But I would like to believe that the artist can be separated from the art, and that we can enjoy art without having to think too much about the artist him or herself. But there’s a line somewhere where that stops being true, and I have a hard time figuring out where that line is.

  2. So apparently he moves women and sometimes underage girls in with him, and they’re supposed to stay in their rooms and ask permission every time they go to the bathroom or come downstairs, disobedience means getting smacked, there’s all kinds of bizarre controlling behavior including making one shave her head and dress like a boy and he calls her his “boy toy.” And they’re just all totally under his spell. But it is indeed shocking the amount of stuff he’s gotten away with, if these stories are true. So if I liked him I’d listen to him, but I wouldn’t buy a concert ticket, lol. But yeah I like a lot of artists who espouse views I think are nuts. Or who have done terrible things like murder or domestic abuse. I must admit that it adds extra dimension to the music for me, however awful that sounds. I don’t think peeing in a 14 year old’s mouth and cruising high schools for girls at age 35 is cool at all, though. Dude is just messed up and it doesn’t make his music cooler at all, lol.

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