The enigma that is R Kelly

The enigma that is R Kelly


This week Namibians reacted, as they first did months ago, with strong emotions of relief when they learnt that R Kelly show in Namibia has been cancelled. The organisers say R Kelly would no longer be able to come to Namibia.
Some Namibians celebrated to the news, pointing out that Namibia should not, in the first place, have invited R Kelly at a time when Namibia is trying to send a strong message that it does not tolerate gender-based violence offenders. R Kelly, they argued, is heavily tainted by allegations of sexual violence against women, including against underage women.

New Era Weekend thought it is only fair to give you R Kelly’s recent responses to such perception and allegations. These excerpts were taken from R Kelly last published uncensored interview with GQ (US) magazine correspondent Chris Heath, in the cover story for the January 2016 edition, titled: ‘The Confession of R. Kelly’.

Robert Kelly has been publicly accused of multiple sexual offenses with underage women, and who stood trial for making child pornography. The case took six years to go to trial. When it finally did, the girl whom the prosecutors had identified declined to cooperate, as did her parents.

All three had apparently denied to a grand jury that it was her in the video, though a number of close relatives and school friends testified otherwise. Kelly likewise exercised his right not to testify. He was found not guilty. He has also reached out of court settlement with women who have accused him of underage sex. These are some of his responses to GQ’s pressing questions:

Is that you in that video [shown in the court as part of child pornography case]?
“[pause] Because of my lawyers, to this day I cannot have those kind of conversations. Being advised by my lawyers in this.”

I understand why you wouldn’t during the trial period, but…
“Because they could come back to haunt me. Things could come back and they can just restart all over again. And I have to protect myself.”
But people are going to think that if it wasn’t you in the video, there would be no legal ramifications in saying, “It’s not me.” It would be the easiest, simplest, most obvious thing on earth to say.

“Not necessarily. Because I’ve said certain things when it all first started, but that didn’t do no good. So I had to go get lawyers and they had to protect me. So now I’m under my lawyers’ advice.”
On why he settled out of court with women who have accused him of underage sex, Kelly told GQ that he should not have settled, that he was wrong, in these cases, to follow his lawyers’ advice, and that he only did it to avoid bad publicity…

Just to get it directly from you, your position is that those people were extorting you?
“That’s not my position, that’s the absolute truth.”

So the people who said these things, they were all liars?

“All of them. And it wasn’t many. It wasn’t like it was a whole tonne of people. But the people that did were absolutely lying. Absolutely.”

Why would they do that?

“Look, if I break up with a girl, and she don’t wanna break up, and I’m R. Kelly, she’s gonna be pissed. So pissed that she’s gonna go out there, she’s gonna say this, she’s gonna say that, she’s gonna say the other. And if she’s really pissed, whoever she said it to is gonna spread the rumour, and if the wrong people get ahold of that rumour, that’s gonna come out. If that come out, I gotta get a lawyer, and once I get that lawyer, that lawyer gonna tell me to shut up. Because no matter what you say, you’re gonna look bad. Okay, so now it goes from that to ‘Oh, they’re really serious, they want to sue you.’ What the lawyers tell me? ‘You should settle. Your album’s coming out. You have a GQ front cover coming out, you have BET next week, you have the Grammys coming up. Wrong or right, you can win the battle and lose the war. It’s on you, but that’s what we advise you to do.’ I go home, I think about all my hard work, I look at my studio, I look at my kids, I look at my wife at the time, or any other time, and I say, ‘I don’t want to settle.’ I want to fight because I know I’m right, I know I’m innocent, have nothing to hide—she wanted me, I wanted her, she was of age, I’m of age. But she’ll say, ‘Well, I didn’t meet him here, I met him then.’ That’s what they’re saying.”
R Kelly Trivia…

GQ interview also reveals this: “His inability to read.”
“Other kids could read, other kids could write, other kids could spell, they could do math,” he says. “I felt like an alien, I felt like an outcast. I felt like, ‘What is going to happen to me?’ My mother couldn’t answer it. My stepfather wasn’t really interested in it one way or another. And my brothers and sisters were so young at the time they wouldn’t do nothing but tease me about it. I was the ‘dummy’: ‘How you gon’ do this? You can’t even read!’ ”

He says it’s not like he didn’t try, and he describes what would happen when he did: “I would always hear scrambled music, like an orchestra going off that didn’t know what they was doing. It was so confusing. It was, like, violin’s playing ‘I Believe I Can Fly,’ the bass is playing ‘When a Woman’s Fed Up,’ the guitar’s playing ‘Bump N’ Grind,’ the piano’s playing a gospel song. And then I would end up getting really sleepy and tired.” Reading remains a struggle. “Since my daughter showed me voice texts on my phone, I’ve gotten a lot better,” he says. “I’m not a ‘A’ student, I’m not even a ‘B’ student, but I’ve gotten a lot better with the reading because of texts. And I can voice-text and say whatever I want to people. And then they text me back and I take my time and I can read through it.”

He describes his state of mind as a floating car: “I feel I’m a floating car around a lot of cars. Sometimes I feel like I’m a shooting star around a lot of stars. And it’s not a bragging thing — I don’t want nobody to get it twisted — but that’s just how I feel, because I can’t figure it out myself. You know, I can’t figure out why do I have the ability? I can’t really read or write, don’t spell, no math, but at the same time I can write songs and do what I do. That boggles me.”


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