They say that the most important time in a human beings’ development is in their childhood. Particularly in their formative years from 0 till about 8 years old. For Robert Kelly his childhood was not the best. Certainly not the worst but it was bad enough.
He never knew his father and he was one of 4 children in a deprived part of Chicago’s Brownsville Projects. He reportedly grew up in a house full of women and was sexually abused by a woman who was 10 years older than him from the ages of 8 until he was 14. At 8 he had a childhood sweetheart called Lulu who was swept away in a river calling out his name. In 1993 he lost his mother, who he was very close to, to cancer.
Not that this excuses his actions and what he is accused of. But it gives some context as to how someone may end up doing what he did. It is true that some people experience worse than he did but never go on to hurt others. It is also true that some people never experience a difficult childhood but still go on to hurt others. Such are the complexities of the human psyche.
Some victims of sexual abuse go on to become predators themselves and some on the flip-side will vow never to do the same to another person. Which side one falls on only God knows and there is no telling. It is important however to acknowledge that past sexual abuse trauma can cause some people to become predators. Such seems to be the case with the so called “Pied Piper of RnB”.
Being a huge fan of his music it has been difficult for me to accept his wrongdoings and in some cases I have accused the women involved of trying to tarnish the image of our self proclaimed “King of RnB”. However with the overwhelming testimonies of victims, victims relatives, business associates and previous employees it is difficult to still persist that the man is innocent. Surely “there is no smoke without fire” as the saying goes.
Several documentaries have been made detailing some of his transgressions but the “Surviving R Kelly” docu-series was the final nail in his coffin. It contains some disturbing testimonies from women who were in their teens at the the time of the alleged offences to women who are in their mid 20’s to mid 30’s. He is accused of pedophilia at alarming proportions, rape, domestic violence, hostage taking to name but a few.
There appears to be a gradual evolution to his treachery where he started off blatantly just targeting random teen girls. To now where he has developed a systematic approach to wooing these girls and holding them hostage even in the face of their parents and relatives. He is reportedly well linked with the police and various other key people to make his insidious activities prevail even after facing trial twice!
For a man of his stature he commanded a lot of respect in the black community across the world. Many to this day cannot fathom him ever doing any wrong. His music is even played in a lot of churches as inspirational songs of praise and upliftment. “I Believe I Can Fly” is one of the greatest songs of all time and it made him a household name worldwide. “Step In The Name Of Love” is a wedding staple song.
However most of his songs are explicit and graphic in describing various sexual acts. For example on “In The Kitchen” he chimes “Girl I’m ready to toss your salad/While I’m making love, girl I’ll be feasting”. Apparently when he wrote “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number” for Aaliyah he was trying to justify their unethical union. He reportedly met her when she was 12 and married her at 15.
It is also stated that after every major court battle he has had he would release an album or a song that would completely overshadow any negative publicity he was having at the time. For instance when he was initially charged with child pornography in 2002 he went on to release Ignition and The Chocolate Factory album which debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Faced with his great accomplishments and talent it is unfathomable how he can be accused of such depraved acts? It was unsettling watching victim after victim recount explicit details of extreme abuse, manipulation and callousness. His ex-wife detailed years of abuse and deception by the singer. She had to beg for permission to eat sometimes and he kept her locked away from the outside world.
Other victims recounted similar claims of extreme control and manipulation by the singer. He appears to target young and vulnerable black women who already idolise him because of his super-stardom. He reportedly tells them to call him “daddy” and makes them perform various sexual acts including urinating on them and vice versa.
The girl at the centre of his sex tape trial in 2008 has never been officially identified. It is believed there are several other victims who were either too scared or too traumatised to come forward. And it seems with each acquittal Kells gets more and more brazen in his escapades and he probably feels he is untouchable. However there seems to be less bravado in his demeanor this time around.
His interview with Gayle King the other day showed a desperate man who has lost control. He has resorted to crying and tantrums to get people on his side. But I don’t know how effective that was. His career continues to plummet as one by one people start distancing themselves from him and his music. He recently failed to pay his $100k bond and today he is in jail for failing to pay $161k in child maintenance.
The lives he has potentially ruined are numerous. The victims and their families have suffered severe psychological trauma from his actions. Some believe that if his victims were white he would have been brought to account several years ago. Some people believe black womens’ lives and welfare are at the bottom of the human pile. Maybe they are right.
The Roddy Chasewater Show.