R. Kelly, one of R&B’s most genius, but most controversial stars, issued a PSA of sorts to his African-American fans on Thursday, urging them to purchase his 13th studio album, The Buffet.
The video below came after the crooner performed at The Soul Train Awards, an appearance many weren’t too happy to see given his past legal troubles stemming from sexual assault allegations involving underage girls.
The buzz around his album, out this Friday, hasn’t been as explosive as previous efforts. But with collaborations from popular artists like Jhene Aiko, Ty Dolla $ign and Lil Wayne, The Buffet’s sound is right in line with the current popular phenomenon “Trapsoul” – a blend of soulful vulnerable vocals and hip-hop swag.
In his Tyrese-like speech, Robert stresses how artists like Sam Smith, Adele, and other white singers are praised for their African-American R&B sounds and backed by millions who purchase their music. But it’s not really white artists who are blocking R. Kelly’s road to another top-selling album.
The Buffet is the first record the singer has released since the resurfacing of his sexual assault allegations in 2014. During his press run for the 2013 release Black Panties, an ill-advised Twitter Q&A revealed many were not over allegations that the singer engaged in group sex with girls as young as 15 years old. There was also the infamous 2002 sex tape that allegedly showed Kelly urinating in a teenager’s face. After years of hidden settlements and stories, Kelz was acquitted of all 14 charges of child pornography in 2008.
Despite reports about the singer’s cravings for intimacy with younger women (he was also accused in 2008 of having a relationship with his ex-publicist’s college-aged daughter) his fan base is just as loyal as ever. Sure, his social media following doesn’t boast colossal numbers like The Weeknd, Frank Ocean, or Trey Songz, but like his R&B counterparts, he’s returned to making music mostly about love making.
In a recent profile piece for Vulture, David Marchese spoke to fans outside of R. Kelly’s September performance at New York’s Barclays Center. Many fans were dismissive of his past, while others claimed they weren’t aware of it. Kelly’s case hit the public eye before the explosion of the Internet, before Twitter, and before entertainment websites like TMZ existed. Another painful reminder is that many of the victims were young Black women who lived throughout inner cities in America, a demographic the general public notoriously ignores.
“I don’t think about what people say R. Kelly did do or he didn’t do,” says Charisse, a 38-year-old EMT in a red leather jacket. We’re standing outside Barclays Center in Brooklyn in late September. R. Kelly is playing here tonight, and in a few minutes, he’ll deliver a lewd and wildly entertaining show. “He don’t do anything lots of other men don’t do,” Charisse continues. “But because it’s R. Kelly, I’m supposed to be mad about it? There’s a lot of fast girls out there looking for a come-up.” She shrugs. “That’s reality.”
Tia, 34 and pregnant, is here too. She works in wealth management, and her husband is home with their young daughter. “The media overhypes everything,” she says.
If he was found guilty in court, that’s a different thing. But there’s life and there’s music, and I can separate the two.”
Her husband can’t. “He refuses to listen to R. Kelly,” she says. A 40-something man who’s been listening in and who won’t give his name comes up to me and says, “Innocent until proven guilty. This is America,” and walks away. Kenny is a 33-year-old real-estate agent whose girlfriend bought him R. Kelly tickets for his birthday. He was unaware of any allegations. “I’ve never heard any of that stuff,” he says. “So I guess it doesn’t bother me.”
To some, the notion of separating the man from the music isn’t worth the trouble. For others, the allegations are easy to ignore when the consequences affect young Black women they know nothing about. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, or RAINN, reports 17.7 million American women have been the victims of rape or an attempted rape. The majority of rape victims are of mixed race (24.4 percent) followed by Black women (18.8 percent.) Sadly, Black women are the least likely to identify their attacker.
Another fact that can’t be ignored is Kelly’s impact on music. The singer was named Billboard‘s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Artist of the Past 25 Years, while Vibe credited him with a similar title. He’s been nominated for over 20 Grammys, is a 19-time BMI Award winner, and sold millions of records in his career, which has spanned over two decades.
His pleas to support R&B music are warranted, yes, but given Kelly’s past and what that means for Black women, isn’t it about time we stop ignoring the obvious? Your money = your support. Think about it.
SOURCE: Vulture | VIDEO CREDIT: YouTube
Obama’s Best Instagram Moments During His Last Year As President
1. Two step! President Obama dances with his half-sister Auma Obama and President Kenyatta at a state dinner during his first trip to Kenya.Source:Instagram 1 of 25
2. Seriously, how much more down to earth can Obama and the First Lady get? Here they are rocking their alma mater t-shirts in the White House one morning.Source:Instagram 2 of 25
3. WINNING! The exact moment President Obama heard that the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act.Source:Instagram 3 of 25
4. Presidential Perfection! The First Family poses on the White House lawn on Easter Day 2015.Source:Instagram 4 of 25
5. Just like us! The president swats a fly in the Oval Office.Source:Instagram 5 of 25
6. Someone needs an umbrella. The president dodges a rainstorm as he addresses supporters in Nashville.Source:Instagram 6 of 25
7. The president does his best “Charlie’s Angels” impression with an ensign at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy commencement in New London, Conn.Source:Instagram 7 of 25
8. Anything you can do, I can do better. President Obama crawls around with Ella Harper Rhodes, daughter of Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes.Source:Instagram 8 of 25
9. Presidential high fives for all!Source:Instagram 9 of 25
10. Like seriously, who doesn’t like pizza?Source:Instagram 10 of 25
11. Checking Twitter, perhaps? #AskPotusSource:Instagram 11 of 25
12. The real presidential advisors.Source:Instagram 12 of 25
13. Two peas in a pod. The president and Joe Biden always have each other’s backs.Source:Instagram 13 of 25
14. Who’s got the power?! President Obama poses with another ensign at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy commencement.Source:Instagram 14 of 25
15. Who wants to play the president in a game of basketball? Obama talks with students and law enforcement officials at a sit-down discussion at a New Jersey Salvation Army Community Center.Source:Instagram 15 of 25
16. Joking around with “Gronk,” aka New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.Source:Instagram 16 of 25
17. Family affair! The president, the First Lady, and presidential dogs Bo and Sunny speak to a crowd at this year’s Easter Egg Roll.Source:Instagram 17 of 25
18. Are you covered? Obama puts health first…but doesn’t he always? #ObamacareSource:Instagram 18 of 25
19. Who knew our president was the “baby whisperer?”Source:Instagram 19 of 25
20. It’s never too early (or late) to shoot some hoops in a suit.Source:Instagram 20 of 25
21. Green tie. Must be St. Patrick’s Day.Source:Instagram 21 of 25
22. Who said presidents couldn’t have fun at bars? Obama throws darts at an Atlanta tavern while waiting for his interview with VICE to begin.Source:Instagram 22 of 25
23. Word is, President Obama is an avid tea drinker. Here he is sampling some Ethiopian coffee at the National Palace in Addis Ababa. Talk about authentic!Source:Instagram 23 of 25
24. Boys will be boys.Source:Instagram 24 of 25
25. We imagine Bo is politely asking POTUS to go out for just one more walk. Please??Source:Instagram 25 of 25