It hit me like a tonne of bricks on Friday afternoon when my team and I were drinking in the office- R.Kelly is a pedophile. I mean, we've known for years, but it really hit me- wow, this man has been targeting underage girls for sex with impunity for years. Not only is he a pedophile, one of the most heinous criminal acts known to man, but he has had fans of his music to conspire willingly with him to masks his crimes behind his musical genius. He has been telling us for close to two decades now "This is the Pied Piper of R&B." And we've been repeating it in the clubs, in the car, in the shower, I bet you said it in your head in his voice. It's sick. It's scary. Do you know how brazen it is to tell people what you are in your songs? When my good friend Genna reminded me of the etymology of the name the Pied Piper, citing it as the reason she didn't want to hear Back & Forth in the office, I felt sick.
In this *baffling* interview with GQ Magazine (why are we still interviewing him?) R.Kelly shares that he didn't know that the Pied Piper led the children of Hamelin away to their deaths but instead started calling himself that when he started using flutes in his music. Regardless of why, the terrible irony is R.Kelly has been accused of these crimes and has aligned himself with a character from this popular Brothers Grimm fairytale (nightmare) about a musician who does terrible things to children. If R.Kelly is the Pied Piper, society is surely an allegory for the people of the city of Hamelin. Society has let patriarchy run amuck to the point that R.Kelly can marry a 14 year old child, produce and write a song for his victim and have her sing Age Aint Nothin' But A Number then imbed a constant reminder of his attraction to underaged girls in all of our favourite songs. OK, fine, Up In Da Club was only my favourite song, but still! There is a huge problem here!
The man is a musical genius but I cannot consciously sing songs he has produced, written or performed knowing that he has never been brought to justice. It's unconscionable that this is allowed to happen where a man so fragrantly be allowed to laud his desires for young girls in our faces and still we have Erykah Badu, High Priestess of WYD, Sis introduce Robert When-You-Say-Teenaged-How-Old-We-Talking Kelly at the 2015 Soul Train Awards as a man who has "done more for the blacks than anyone." Indeed, this is Hamelin, while we did pay this Pied Piper for ridding of the city of rats, we are just giving him our children for free because he taught us how to step in the name of love and that after the party there is going to be an afterparty.
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