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Rated: R. (Kelly): A star and charges of child pornography

By Kathy Y. Wilson · January 29th, 2003 · Your Negro Tour Guide
This is war. God and Satan in an ancient grudge scrap in a Celebrity Death Match for R. Kelly's soul. God keeps losing.

R&B deejays make jokes ("some brothas just freaky like dat") and open the phone lines ("whaddya thank, callers?"). Kelly keeps feelin' on our booties, vomiting sound-alike songs sung in nasal drone tones like a man possessed.

He is. With sex.

He's set adrift on misery's bliss, cast out by arrogance, narcissism, stupidity and immoral lust. One bad apple spoils the whole bunch.

No pedophile is an island unto himself. Since slavery, black girls have been sexualized and objectified and disposed of properly like pink razors.

But it's always been this way. We've for years inhaled mediocrity hidden in ass-shakin' goodness.

Kelly is lower than the ick of resulting public intoxication. He's a tortured man so mired in pedophilia that the people who made bank from his "skills" held their noses only long enough to finish the track.

They're complicit. They've known what was only hinted at in 1994 when Kelly secretly married martyred Black Barbie Aaliyah, then 15.

Then we all peered through the widening rip in Kelly's tent. In June 2002, he was arrested in Florida after a Chicago grand jury indicted him on 21 counts of child pornography. The arrest stemmed from the infamous videotape that surfaced last February. In it, Kelly is allegedly having sex with a 13- or 14-year-old girl.

Shortly after, Chicago cops investigated four copies of yet another Florida videotape rented and returned by men claiming to be Kelly's employees. Investigators soon threw out further charges surrounding these tapes, though it was reported they showed the same girl as in the original tape.

On Jan. 22, Kelly was arrested again in Florida and charged this time with 12 counts of possessing child pornography. This arrest, too, reconnects to last June's Florida bust. Florida cops, when carrying out the original Chicago warrant, found a digital camera containing a dozen images of an underage girl. Kelly is allegedly having sex with the girl in three of the photos.

Cops say they took so long to file the latest charges because they were verifying the girl's age. It's under.

At least four lawsuits have been brought against the singer, three of which accuse him of having sex with underage girls, according to the Canadian Press WHAT. Kelly's settled two.

Meanwhile, his colleagues drove their customized Cadillacs and Benzos away from Kelly. Dr. Dre, Ashanti, Nas, Jay-Z and even Sisqo have either publicly dissed or privately dismissed Kelly. In an industry rife with playalistic images of bitches, hoes, money, misogyny, Cristal and private jets, even Kelly's illness is too ill to chill with.

While the aloofness seems a career move, however, it's really a drive-by on humanity. Why didn't these people, otherwise hyped by his formulaic Midas touch with an annoying song, confront him on what's amounted to an out-of-control disease?

If he was a drunk, there would've been an intervention like Whitney Houston's never seen.

There was a time when Kelly appeared to wrestle down his demons, publicly hanging out with the likes of Kirk Franklin, that New Jack Gospel Pied Piper. Then there'd be a full-out Gospel cut smacked up, flipped and rubbed down in the middle of Kelly's bordello soundtrack CDs. Then he'd go back to fucking.

Kelly supplanted therapy with warbling. In 1996 "I Believe I Can Fly," a song he calls " a song for kids," followed the annulment from Aaliyah. "Heaven, I Need a Hug" was 2002's post-traumatic soundtrack to the widely circulated tapes. Since then he's been going down on his preoccupation with sex, and we keep lettin' him feel on our booties.

That's startling. It says the troubled celebrity's entertainment value is worth stomaching his flaws. It says we delight in devaluing little black girls. It says we'd rather hear a bumpin' beat than reconcile what he's bumpin' on.

Robert Sylvester Kelly is sick. Forget Iraq. This here's war.

I believe it because I've seen it close up; grew up in proximity. There are brothas among us who struggle with Kelly's addictions.

You'd never know it by the packaging. But it's a dirty open secret in what's left of our village.

Money and access to stringless sex is what separates Kelly from the work-a-day brotha, the one who goes home to a woman who can't possibly measure up to and/or satisfy images he's been dry humping all day. So somehow it's hidden or dormant.

But Kelly's arrogance, narcissism and denial will vulture off whatever corpse his pedophilia leaves.

That brotha don't need no hug. He needs some black-on-black love. From people his own age.

Hear Kathy's commentaries on National Public Radio's All Things Considered.


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