Here’s the thing – I love music and I’m from Chicago, ergo I may have a cape specifically designated for making excuses for R. Kelly.
You know the excuses that most people have been making for almost 2 decades now. “That’s not really him in that video”, “she was old enough to consent”, “what he does in his spare time ain’t my business”, “Aye! He made ‘Seems Like You’re Ready’, knock it off!”
I don’t know if it’s age and maturity or the fact that I have a daughter now, but what I do know is that it’s time to retire that cape. I’ve run out of excuses…or reasons to excuse his behavior. There’s nothing anyone can do to erase the classic songs and albums that he’s created. But we can stop giving him passes on the destruction that he’s caused over the years.
I can’t, in good conscious, continue to support him. There’s not a song written well enough to make me overlook or ignore or slow dance away the trail of broken women and girls that have been discarded or traded for newer, unbroken models. It’s become impossible for me to hear his music and not immediately think of 15 year old Aaliyah. Or the 14 year old girls from the 1996 allegations. Or the 17 year old girls from the 2001 allegations. Or the girls from the 2002 sex tapes. Or…you get it. It’s a lot. Because the man has a problem. And we’ve TP2’d ourselves into silent approval of it all.
Again, I can’t deny that “I Believe I Can Fly” is a great song. So great, in fact, that it replaced “Greatest Love of All” at the top of the Classic Kindergarten Graduation Songs playlist. But how can I look my 9 month old daughter in the face and tell her she’s wholly beautiful and special and valuable and magical…and then turn on any song composed by a man that wouldn’t hesitate to prey on her the second she even looked of-age? The short answer is, I can’t.
So while Tempo Slow is unarguably a classic, it’s not worth the conviction that it comes along with.
Now, go tell your daughters, nieces, sisters, cousins, neighbors and any other women in your life that you love them.
Editor’s Note: 5 Songs young dads can listen to instead of something from ole boy who runs a cult.
1. Nas “Daughters”
2. John Mayer “Daughters”
3. Stevie Wonder “Isnt She Lovely”
4. Loudon Wainright III “Thats my daughter in the water”
Jay-Z “Family Feud”