It takes a certain discipline to resist R. Kelly. He's a genius of contemporary R&B and, as evidenced by his absurd "Trapped in the Closet" series, he's quite funny. But--at least for responsible and/or semi-literate adults--there has to be a code we live by. A code that says that when some people make art, even really enjoyable art, we shouldn't support it.
As we all know, R. Kelly is a pedophile. Yes, he's evaded prison time but anyone who remembers how he married Aaliyah or watched the video of him literally urinating on a hairless pubescent black girl knows that "show me some ID please" isn't just a line in the "Bump and Grind" remix. It's a tongue in cheek hat tip to his illegal desire for underage girls.
Which brings us to his latest album, "Black Panties," a musical offering that the allegedly feminist blog Jezebel has called "A Magnificent Ode to Pussy." While mocking his absurdity, a very clever writer Isha Aran posits that R. Kelly's latest work is worth our financial support.
Everyone's favorite masterful weaver of stories, Robert Sylvester Kelly, has blessed us with an 18-track opus, winding his musical threads on his freaky sex loom, and you can stream it in it's spectacular entirety over at Vibe.
Should you choose to accept this sensual mission, approach with caution and be prepared to be bombarded with some super sexy R. Kelly sex. Like, more than usual. There's "Crazy Sex," there's sex in "Every Position," there's some "Physical" sex, there's sex with the "Lights On." And then there are the real ballads. ...
Of course, no song quite reaches the heartfelt poignancy of "Marry the Pussy," a song which not only boasts repeating the word "pussy" 56 times, but also is an actual proposal song to a woman's sex organs. Yes. A marriage proposal to a pussy. And one that will undoubtedly usurp the stronghold Train's 'Marry Me' has on the first dance at far too many weddings.
That's some really hip writing. Aran certainly captures the guilty pleasure that one can derive from Robert Kelly and even provides the release date for "Black Panties." What she doesn't figure out is how is how to tell the truth about R. Kelly and still be funny. She skips over the part where there's visual evidence that R. Kelly has raped at least one black girl. (Yes, rape. Pubescent girls aren't old enough to consent.) I challenge any hipster to put that image in the frame and still come out chuckling. I'm also asking Lady Gaga, who simulated soft porn in the Oval Office with Kelly during this year's American Music Awards, to explain how any of this is OK.
Look, my friends and family will tell you that I'm not innocent of listening to old R. Kelly albums even after seeing that tape. Just as the NAACP nominated this man for an Image Award while he was facing trial for sex with underage girls and actually gave him a 2013 award this year for penning Whitney Houston's "I Look to You," I've been guilty of choosing pretty melodies over what is right. But this isn't fodder for jokey joke writing.
It's called hypocrisy.
An ugly hypocrisy that is only possible when you temporarily ignore and devalue the young girls whom Kelly has assaulted, or call them liars, or insist that they tempted him, or claim it was his brother, or allow the jagged memory of those vile scenes to go soft. If that's what we're doing--and that is what we're doing when we bump R. Kelly--we should at least be real about it.
Or we could just do the right damn thing and ignore this man.