The year was 2002, and with the highly anticipated Trackmasters produced album of The Best Of Both Worlds…R Kelly was set to release a historic album that would forever solidify the marriage between Hip-Hop and Rhythm & Blues. I mean how could he go wrong? This was Mr. I Believe I Can Fly! This was Mr. Your Body’s Calling Me! And after all these number one songs and albums, the stage was set to blaze the world by collaborating with the equally talented, un-paralled, Grammy Award winning Jay-Z. But then, all of the sudden, anything that could go wrong…did. I do have to give a big shout out to the internet, because the world didn’t have social media at the time but, the news of R Kelly urinating on an alleged 14 year old little girl had the world wide web buzzing…and not in a good way. Soon, the DVD boosters got in on the controversy and all of the sudden, the R Kelly sex tape was being sold in every barber shop, beauty shop, gas station and flea market across urban America. The Best of Both Worlds album was projected to sell 10 million copies, but with the grotesque scandal looming as a black cloud, although the album went platinum, the would be historic album lost it’s appeal.
Soon after, and one by one the music industry began to distance themselves from the alleged child rapist. Jay Z’s star was continuing to rise, so therefore he could not do a video nor tour to promote the collabo album. But one that loves music can’t deny the club bangers the project possessed. Therefore, BOBW became a cult classic for the fans of both artists. Still, it couldn’t stop the world from asking the obvious question…Would R Kelly’s career be finished behind this madness?
Like the great Harry Houdini, R Kelly’s legal defense prepared the case as if it was not the artist in the sex video and the expected to be convicted R&B crooner got off scott free. But as the song says in Bob Marley’s “Get Up Stand Up” you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all of the time. The world just watched for the 2nd time (cue Orenthal James Simpson the first) a man get away with a serious crime simply because of how talented he was, and because he had the money to afford top-notch sufficient legal aid. Robert Kelly got off, and a lot of people hated it, but still no one could deny his incredible talent. The urban community did not want to forgive R Kelly, but his next music project changed everyone’s mind.
February 18th 2003 R Kelly released The Chocolate Factory. Music critics tried everything they could not to like this album. In my opinion the album was ok, but two remixes from The Chocolate Factory saved R Kelly’s career the first time. Those records were Step In The Name Of Love (Remix) and Ignition (Remix). It’s really hard to hate a man that has created mandatory songs played at weddings and family gatherings. R Kelly cashed in on his success with Step and followed up with an album entitled Happy People/U Saved Me in which the world felt his sorriness, and thus the double album became R Kelly’s redemption.
The Chicago native became the blueprint for how-to-handle-your-scandal in the entertainment world. The plan is simple. Work really hard, create unforgettable moments, and deny everything until everyone forgets. If you don’t believe me…just ask Kobe Bryant and Chris Brown.
I’ve always felt in my heart, people don’t catch criminals…criminals get caught. Why? Because exoneration breeds arrogance. Soon after the case dismissal and being put back into radio rotation, urbanites witnessed R Kelly back in the videos with numerous women, but this time wearing a mask and calling himself the Pied Piper of R&B. This was almost a scoff to everyone’s intelligence including mine. Because no matter what we saw on that alleged sex tape, R Kelly was back in our good graces. But this time, he could get away with being bold and brandish, because now it was a play on the public’s psyche. If we as a people forgave him for what was obvious, we had to accept him for who he was at that point. Remember this is a man that married America’s sweetheart Aaliyah at the tender age of 15. and it was swept under the rug as if it never happened.
Though the interviews that followed throughout the years, especially the infamous interview with Toure’ the world had to accept Robert Kelly’s pedophilic ways. But just like the drunk uncle or the crackhead cousin in your family…you love them, but you just keep your eyes on them. I mean there were a number of attempts to shelve this man’s music…but we just couldn’t deny his talent and the songs that will be forever a part of urban fabric.
As I was listening to The Breakfast Club with my 15 year old step-child on the way to the dentist, we heard the recording of Jerhonda Pace tell the story of being in R Kelly’s sex cult. She exposed his manipulative games and tactics to keep the little girls head in a fog. But when it came out that he was beating the child, all bets were off. I had to turn off the radio simply because I was tearing up.
Now I know in this world of entertainment people are paid to say things. Entertainers are hunted daily simply because of the resources they have. One person can create an all out witch-hunt as in the rapes cases concerning William Cosby. So I try to be objective when writing my blogs. However, I heard the conviction in the young lady’s voice and I know how manipulators can be, in my mind, I started to sound like my grandmother… “If more than three people are telling me the same consistent story…everybody ain’t lying Delayne!” lol. So even if there is a lot of spin to the story, I believe there is some truth to what she is saying and as stated earlier, Mr. Kelly has already admitted to the world that he loves underage girls.
It’s gotten to the point that everytime another woman comes forward about Mr. Kelly, it’s not even breaking news. It is no longer a distraction from world news. We in the urban community just simply say “Oh another one” But when will it stop? When are we really going to hold Robert Kelly accountable for his actions? Is it the degree of separation because it’s not one of our children? No matter how talented he is, R Kelly has a serious problem. My worry is that if it continues to go unchecked, he will set the tone for other gifted, talented and rich entertainers to follow in his footsteps.
As Tupac Shakur says in “Keep your Head Up” It’s time to heal our women, be real to our women. Seriously, if Mr. R. Kelly was not the King Of R&B…somebody would be trying to beat his ass for what he’s been able to get away with. It’s time to hold Robert Kelly to the flame, even if that means as a DJ, as urging as it would be to play Step In The Name Of Love at a wedding, just standing on that alone would take a stand that the crooners behavior is unacceptable and we in the entertainment industry have had enough of Mr. Kelly’s shenanigans.
It’s time to take the “Mask Off” Word 2 Future.
(The views and opinions of this article are solely those of DJ Layne Luv aka Delayne Whiteside as an independent blogger and do not reflect that of Straight Official Magazine)