R. Kelly: A step in the name of justice | Opinion
Everyone knows a song by R. Kelly. For me, the first that comes to mind is “I Believe I Can Fly”, with that beautiful melody and the positive feeling it evokes.
Robert Sylvester Kelly, known as R. Kelly, is an American singer, songwriter and record producer. At the peak of his career, R. Kelly earned the nicknames “King of R&B”, “King of Pop-Soul” and “Pied Piper of R&B”, which elevated his status in the music industry. music. Indeed, R. Kelly’s talent has helped redefine R&B.
On September 27, 2021, he was given another name: convicted sex offender.
Last weekend, on a beautiful fall day, I spoke with four young men of color at a festival in Hamilton Park in Jersey City. The guilty verdict fell last week and I wanted to know what they thought of R. Kelly, the man and his music.
Jersey City resident Dee Lynch sat down for a break after a basketball game, dabbed the sweat on his forehead and shared his thoughts on R. Kelly and the verdict.
“My take on R. Kelly is when he was first charged, I already had a bitter taste for his music after that. I try to erase some of the things that fill me with his music from my life. He had the opportunity to be a positive person, and he chose the opposite.
“I have young black nieces and I have a son. So positive role models play a role in growing up in a black community, and anyone who disrespects that role – Bill Cosby, you know, I’m just trying to log out.
For nearly a quarter of a century, R. Kelly’s musical legacy has coexisted with dozens of accusations of sexual abuse of underage girls, including a questionable marriage to the late Aaliyah. The media have covered these allegations over the years, but the documentary “Surviving R. Kelly” gave voice to its victims, now survivors, and paved the way for a new trial.
Robin Castro, also a Jersey City resident, makes a living as a DJ. He says the last time he played R. Kelly at an event it wasn’t well received, so he quickly changed the song.
“I think they made the right decision to make him guilty because we all saw him on camera like you can’t lie about what you did, so it’s not right. It’s not something that men should be doing. Especially melancholy men because I know he was bought better than that. (Actually, he wasn’t because I saw the documentary, and he’s having family issues.) But that doesn’t mean anything; he should have known not to do what he did to young girls.
“Well, young women, there’s more than one then. It is not a model. I don’t think a young man should follow this [example]. I was a fan of his music. Okay, so I’m not listening. I actually don’t play his music anymore because of it. I am a DJ. The last time I played ‘Step in the Name of Love’ people didn’t like it so I can’t play his music anymore even though I loved him as a fan.
Last week, a jury in New York City convicted the singer of all nine charges against him. His six-week trial revealed a system of trauma and abuse with numerous sexual acts he perpetrated against young women too explicit for public consumption.
T Busi lives in Newark with his wife and three children, including a newborn baby. He believes the verdict is correct, but the girl’s parents and Kelly’s masters should also be investigated. He says they were complicit in the sex trafficking of these girls.
“I didn’t follow the case too closely, but it’s disappointing to hear some of this stuff come out. I mean, I have a son and two daughters. These are experiences that I wouldn’t want any of them to have in life. In terms of fair or unfair judgment, you know, that’s the verdict given to him. I accept it, whatever.
“But I think it’s also important to know that he couldn’t have done any of these things on his own. So, I think as we focus on the big name, that person in the spotlight, we also have to think, what’s the motive behind that? Are we trying to eradicate the problem? If you are trying to eliminate the problems, you have to go to the source and you have to figure out who authorized it and allowed all of these things to happen. You know, the parents were a bit involved as well. I guess the people around him allowed things to happen. Obviously, he is the man; he’s the name behind it. He was found guilty of committing these acts.
Kelly’s case also turned out to be a milestone for black women in the #MeToo movement. A turning point for black women who have suffered because of negative characterizations that lead to little or no support from the justice system.
Damien Escobar of Jersey City watched his young son play in the sprinklers in Hamilton Park. He speaks of R. Kelly with a heavy heart because he is a true fan of his music.
“Due process. It is a real shame. I hope the verdict will bring a solution to the victims. There are many lives that have been shattered and torn apart, and I pray that he finds peace. I am a big fan of his music; my favorite song is all. I mean, you call it TP 2 / Chocolate Factory, you name it, I love all R. Kelly records. The man wrote for Michael Jackson. He created the most timeless pieces of music we can have.
“It’s unfortunate that with so many of these artists that we grew up loving, they had so many problems – I can only sympathize and empathize with him because no one was born broken. I say some things are theirs. happened along the way, you know, even like Michael Jackson, these people were suffering and unfortunately hurting people hurting people, you know, so it’s a sad day for everyone involved.
Now when I think of R. Kelly’s music, another of his hit songs comes to mind, “When a Woman’s Fed Up”, and I guess that sums it all up. Looks like he’s ready … for a long prison sentence.
Ande Richards recently moved from Los Angeles with her pit bull, Ralph, and a small but thriving indoor garden. She wants to hear from the communities of color in New Jersey. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on Instagram @angelcitygirl or on Twitter @anderichards.
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