Only R Kelly believes he can fly out of prison, where he’ll languish for a long time to come

PETER KIMANI |
Grammy-winning artist R. Kelly arrives for a child support hearing at a Cook County courthouse in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. March 6, 2019. [Reuters, Kamil Krzaczynsk]

American R&B singer Robert Kelly, better known as R Kelly, was convicted this week of more than a dozen crimes relating to his sexual exploitation of underage girls and young women that dates some 20 years back. Some young men were similarly exploited.

The gory details of Kelly’s transgressions some include imprisonment of minors who had to seek his permission to use the bathroom—some would be denied that luxury for three days—while others were asked to smear feaces on their faces.

And they risked repeating the ritual if they didn’t seem to enjoy it.

Ironically, the last nail that sealed Kelly’s coffin came from his own coffers: through the years, he coerced his underage victims to write and sign statements exonerating him.

The prosecution said the letters in themselves were evidence of the singer’s hold on his victims, many of whom were lured into his dominion under the pretext that he would help them in their music careers. Instead of the promised career boost, most received the incurable herpes from the singer, and lifelong trauma.

The lingering question: what do we do with the man’s music? The poet DH Lawrence cautioned: trust the tale, not the teller. Only that R Kelly isn’t just a damaged teller of tales, his tales appear to contain hints of his damaged mind—and legitimisation of his criminal conduct.

Moreover, there are legitimate concerns that he may have produced some of the music when he was detaining an underage girl in his studio or home. Simply put, his goose is cooked and he might need faith to fly out of prison.

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