Op ED: We gave R Kelly a pass

As most of us have heard the pied– piper better known as R Kelly has been allegedly keeping 6 young women against their will. The status of their situation has been labeled as an abusive cult.  The law is surprisingly on his side as the women are all of age and have been previously checked in on by the police and confirmed that they are in fact “fine”. 

However salacious the story is the question still remains, are we listening to R Kelly’s music?

While the Atlanta and Chicago law states that the 6 women are allowed to live and “be” with him, the parents outcry to bring their daughters home prove otherwise. Robert has had a long, long, long history with under age women. The importance of this situation is his true predatory nature and the fact that he is a master manipulator. Hence the expose article in BuzzFeed that took the reporter Jim DeRogatis several years to put together. Kelly’s actions are unquestionably heinous. So I ask again are we listening to his music.

I like most had turned a blind eye to Kelly and his actions. I don’t consider myself a regular listener to the singer but when “I believe I can fly came on” I sang it with conviction. It was part of my childhood among many other R Kelly songs. They were nostalgic and always brought on a positive memory or feeling, Ironic right.

Does ignition matter though after 14 counts of child pornography was hurled at Kelly in 2002? Acquitted or not? I remember hearing the story of Kelly creeping around high schools to pick up young women when a DJ spoke about it on the radio. The video of him peeing on a woman not only was the talk of the town for weeks but it brought an even more notable song via comedic genius Dave Chappelle. Piss on you and the remix were huge. It still makes me laugh to this day. The question begs to be answered though. Are we listening to R Kelly’s music still?

I remember listening to step in the name of love at sweet sixteen’s and stepping the name of love to the song. Step- step – side to side….how could you not follow along. This was by the same man who wore a mask and called himself the pied piper a story about an older man luring children away.  R Kelly was the highlight of my high school coming of age functions.

One of my favorite singers was Aaliyah, who had been married to R Kelly at the tender age of 15. She lied on her marriage certificate and said she was 18. We all knew that, we all knew he wrote “Age Aint Nothing but a Number” as well. It was hit though right? I listened to Aalyah’s discography recently, the song “Never No More” made the hairs on my arm stand up. Was the man who did that to her in fact R Kelly?   

I should have left you / When you called me out my name / I stooped to your level / Replied you the same / Now here we are again / You at my throat / Now I see the same old change / That I did before

I walk away from you / At the drop of a dime / Saw that this treatment is way out of line / And that ran through my mind / Over and over again, I promised myself / You wouldn't put your hands on me again
Never no more

There’s no confirmation that R Kelly treated Aaliyah like that, he got acquitted from all of his charges and yes he is still hold up in one of his mansions with women who may or may not want to be there. There is no space to give someone like that streaming dollars or airtime. I accept that I have turned a blind eye to his actions but if you ask me if I am still listening to his music. My answer is no