R. Kelly and the Value of Black Protectionism
As seen within the sequence, the black neighborhood fashioned a power subject round Kelly, particularly throughout his six-year child-pornography case, which finally resulted in an acquittal in 2008. Kelly’s ardent supporters throughout the neighborhood appeared to utterly dismiss his marriage to the then-15-year-old R&B star Aaliyah, who died in a aircraft crash in 2001. Their marriage was handled as salacious gossip, not abuse.
One of many extra uncomfortable moments in Surviving is when footage is proven of Kelly and Aaliyah showing collectively on BET’s Video Soul Gold, sarcastically to advertise her 1994 smash debut album, Age Ain’t Nothing however a Quantity, which was produced by Kelly and Aaliyah’s uncle, Barry Hankerson. As quickly as the 2 singers are seated, the host, Leslie “Huge Lez” Segar, says with a giant smile: “Let’s clear one thing up, as a result of you recognize I’ve been getting the rundown on the road. All people appears to suppose that y’all are both girlfriend or boyfriend, or cousins, or buddies. Let’s simply get the document straight.”
There may be laughter, and the temper is jovial. Nobody appears to be considering, We’re asking a 27-year-old grown man and a 15-year-old youngster about being in a relationship collectively. After extra uncomfortable laughter, Aaliyah responds nervously: “No, we’re not associated. … He’s my finest good friend … in the entire broad world.”
Kelly has denied the accusations in opposition to him for years, and even when there was a video that appeared to point out the singer urinating within the mouth of an underage woman, the tape—referred to all through the docuseries because the “pee tape”—turned little greater than a punch line. Some of the common bits ever achieved on Dave Chappelle’s tv present was the Kelly-inspired spoof “Piss on You.” The rapper Macklemore, in his single “Thrift Store,” raps that he ought to have washed his mink as a result of it “smells like R. Kelly’s sheets.”
The docuseries reveals a military of Kelly’s supporters outdoors the courtroom through the child-pornography trial in 2008—a lot of them black women and girls—insisting that he was being unfairly punished. One girl even yelled straight right into a digicam that they—and you may guess who “they” is—solely singled Kelly out as a result of he was black and profitable. Even black ladies had been willingly dismissing the trauma of different black ladies.
Kelly, for his half, positioned himself as a sufferer even within the face of damning and disgusting proof. Grasp manipulator that he’s, Kelly all the time appeared to make use of the truth that African People usually stay distrustful of the criminal-justice system to set off racial resentment as a approach to supply cowl for his alleged misdeeds.
In 2000, when the Chicago Solar-Occasions turned the primary outlet to report on accusations that Kelly was having inappropriate relationships with underage ladies, Kelly collaborated with Jay-Z on the tune “Responsible Till Confirmed Harmless.” Jay-Z was additionally embroiled in his personal authorized mess on the time, having been accused of stabbing the music government Lance “Un” Rivera. Kelly boldly sang on the refrain, “Jigga, Kelly, not responsible. Attempt to cost me however I’m not responsible. I obtained, all, my mamis.”