September 28, 2021

"Mr. Kelly once stood atop the realm of R&B music, catapulting himself into an international sensation in the 1990s and 2000s on the success of hits like 'I Believe I Can Fly.'"

"But as the Me Too movement continued to gain steam, cracks in his armor began to show.... The image he once crafted as an alluring sex symbol and genre-redefining lyricist collapsed in the public eye.... [A]s he gained immense access to young fans, Mr. Kelly became a criminal mastermind who used a universe of enablers and sycophants in his orbit to ensnare women, girls and boys.... [Kelly's] lawyers aimed to cast his accusers as opportunists, liars and obsessive fans, arguing their sex with the singer had been consensual, and their accounts of abuse and misconduct fabricated.... [A] cascade of witnesses described a repressive system of restrictions that the women and girls around Mr. Kelly were forced to abide by — from a directive to address him as 'Daddy' to requirements to obtain his permission to eat or use the bathroom. They said that when the rules were broken, the singer doled out harsh and startling punishments, from skin-tearing spankings to forcing one woman to smear feces on her face and eat it."


Why did people ever fall for the delusional self-empowerment of "If I can see it, then I can do it/If I just believe it, there's nothing to it/I believe I can fly/I believe I can touch the sky"?

Believe in yourself, and you can do it. People ate that up, and — as they say in the NYT — he gained immense access to young fans.

Was he "a criminal mastermind"? What does it take to qualify for that title? I didn't follow the trial. I'm just trying to read a NYT article about it.

ADDED: He can replace "I Believe I Can Fly" with "If I Had Wings Like an Angel" (AKA "Prisoner's Song"). Chose a version or listen to the 1925 original:


If I had wings like an angel/Over these prison walls I would fly/And I'd fly to the arms of my poor darlin'/And there I'd be willing to die....

34 comments:

wendybar said...

He's a pig. He married Aaliyah when she was only 15. He groomed these kids to become his sex slaves.

Unknown said...

Criminal mastermind = NYT as a mouthpiece for the Feds. He was a huge R&B star who indulged in his most devious, sleaziest desires who took advantage of and was supported by legions of fans, wannabes and terrible parents, ala Michael Jackson. To call him a criminal mastermind is to absolve the people around him who helped him ruin these young lives. Just a trash human.

Kay said...

I’m a big fan of some R.’s old music, but not that song, which is probably his most famous. He didn’t tend to get quite so sentimental in a lot of his other music.

In any case, the quoted lyrics definitely did apply to R., who felt empowered to do horrible things. Based on what I’ve read about the case, he probably felt some kind of freedom, or more specifically, the ability to achieve impossible things, which he did do, but it ruined a lot of other people’s lives in the process and now it’s all come crashing down.

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

I believe I once saw a Christian Gospel singer of some kind on TV, singing "I Believe I Can Fly," and saying the words could be interpreted as referring to the power of faith.

Not directly related: the unofficial "Air Force" poem, "High Flight," refers to pilots leaving behind their human bodies, and "touching the face of God." I guess that would make you feel pretty special once you're back on earth. My late father was in the Canadian Air Force (radar mechanic, not a pilot or flight crew), and for his memorial service someone suggested "High Flight." My mother read it and said: there's nothing Christian about that.

Menahem Globus said...

In 2002 there were videos of him urinating on teenage girls being sold at Atlanta flea markets. He should have been locked up back then.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

If the Media were not such racist hacks we all would be aware this trial was ongoing. We heard all about fat WHITE Harv Weinstein— at the first trial. After that the “pound me too” movement kinda died.

Tom T. said...

"People ate that up”

Nice choice of words there, given the allegations. You might also add: "He was on top, and then he p!ssed it all away."

Howard said...

IDK Althouse. I suppose it's the same human failing that causes seemingly normal human beings to fall under Trump's spell to become spittle flecking hate filled impotant rage machines.

wendybar said...

Howard never fails to throw Trump into any comment he makes. Trump lives free in Howards mind. A TDS mind is a terrible thing to waste, but then when you have nothing else...Blame Trump. What a joke these TDS people are.

MadisonMan said...

Do the enablers and sycophants also go on trial?

madAsHell said...

C'mon, man!!

R. Kelly is a piker. Ron Jeremy has over 30 counts of sexual assault while being "FUGLY".

Narayanan said...

First you need a political party >>> preferably D for better protection; R can do in a pinch if you can make it to DC

Wilbur said...

Howard, your trolling is usually not so transparent. In fact, it's often interesting to read.

Try to step it up a little.

Wilbur said...

I wondered if he would like serve more years than Hinckley (yes, I know Hinckley was not criminally convicted). I checked and was surprised to read Kelly is 54 years old.

But then I wouldn't know him if he knocked on my front door. Just not a fan of the pop music genre.

D.D. Driver said...

"A universe...in his orbit."

What do you call this? It's not really a "mixed" metaphor. An astronomically incorrect metaphor?

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I suppose it's the same human failing that causes seemingly normal human beings to fall under Trump's spell to become spittle flecking hate filled impotant rage machines.

You mean liberals?

D.D. Driver said...

We can fix this in one of two way:

"Mr. Kelly became a criminal mastermind who used planetary bodies of enablers and sycophants in his orbit to ensnare women, girls and boys."

OR

"Mr. Kelly became a criminal mastermind who used a universe of enablers and sycophants in his multiverse to ensnare women, girls and boys."

AlbertAnonymous said...

…and his favorite note is A Minor…

Ann Althouse said...

@DD Driver

Ha ha. I wish I'd caught that.

What kind of God is he supposed to be that he has a universe in his orbit? That's beyond mastermind.

Why is the NYT straining to present this guy as an immense genius? It looks to me as though he simply had sexual desires and the star power and lack of morality to keep getting what he desired with the help of eager others. I don't let him off the hook for what he did, but he should only be convicted of and punished for the things that are defined as crimes. With other people helping him and the authorities leaving him alone for so many years, he doesn't have to be a genius to keep going. He could even be dumber than usual.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

R Kelly's actions are Trump's fault? huh. Funny how that works.

Yancey Ward said...

"Why is the NYT straining to present this guy as an immense genius?"

Ask yourself how the NYTimes would have covered this had it been, let's say, Kid Rock or Ted Nugent?

Yancey Ward said...

As for Howard- you have to cut him some slack- Howard's cognitive dissonance is at a high level right now as the collapsing Biden Administration makes Trump look like a genius.

TheOne Who Is Not Obeyed said...

"Why is the NYT straining to present this guy as an immense genius?"

Duh. Diversity. Gotta keep those Upper West Side readers in their happy fantasy that All Black People Are Great.

Most of the female (and a lot of the male) readers of the NYT still fantasize about being in Kelly's orbit so they can keep their Pound Me Too and anti-Racist Kendi credentials.

Krumhorn said...

He won't have any trouble in the Big House finding someone to luv him...someone to call him their own. Lots of fat hammering bones from which to choose among the hard, pipe-hittin' brothas as Marcellus Wallace would say. And, of course, there is an ample supply of Howards who will howl loudly.

- Krumhorn

Saint Croix said...

Dave Chappelle nuked him 18 years ago.

Roger Sweeny said...

Wow, 1925 is almost 100 years ago.

Mark said...

Mr. Kelly became a criminal mastermind who used a universe of enablers and sycophants in his orbit to ensnare women, girls and boys

You could also say that he was encouraged by all the prior and contemporary criminal masterminds who likewise used a universe of enablers and sycophants. He's had a LOT of company in entertainment, politics, media and academia. The others got a pass, but none for him.

Lurker21 said...

Hmmm ... Until now I always assumed that with a rap sheet like his the guy had to be a rapper ...

Static Ping said...

It is fairly obvious that positions of power, prestige, and/or wealth attract psychopaths, sociopaths, and the like. If you want to indulge your perversions, it is a lot easier when you put yourself in a position where it is very easy to obtain your desired results and very difficult to be punished. It also helps that these sorts of people have less concern about doing things that are unethical which makes it easier to get to those positions in the first place.

There's your unified theory of societal collapse: the elite becomes infested with the worst the society has to offer and then they run the society for their own benefit and the detriment of everyone else.

Skippy Tisdale said...

Why did people ever fall for the delusional self-empowerment of "If I can see it, then I can do it/If I just believe it, there's nothing to it/I believe I can fly/I believe I can touch the sky"?

We learned it from the film Caddyshack:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fMjspnFemM

Richard Aubrey said...

Is there something like a moth-to-a-flame about fame and florid self-presentation? People will go, or allow their children to go too close. And, apparently, not leave when they could and should.

That said, he sounds like a real bad buy. But, it was the feds so.......

JohnJMac862 said...

I will confess that I do not care enough about the details of this degenerate except to ask one question, "Why did it take so long?"

wendybar said...

When you are rich and famous.... parents will throw their daughters and sons at you because you are paying attention to them (see Michael Jackson) This happened more than once with R Kelly too, yet parents still believed he was going to make their little girls superstars...so they let him take them. It's similiar to "If you are rich and famous, women will let you grab them by the pussy" It is true...but people are blaming the person who said it out loud.

Joe T. said...

Yancey Ward: "Ask yourself how the NYTimes would have covered this had it been, let's say, Kid Rock or Ted Nugent?"

Careful what you wish for. Nugent has long endured accusations of sex with underaged girls. I've been amazed at how untouched the pop music business has been by the #MeToo movement. For some reason, classical musicians have taken a hit, but rock, R & B, and Hip Hop folks have sailed through it. This case could open the floodgates.

The reason R. Kelly finally got called to account is because journalist Jim DeRogatis doggedly covered the singer's activities in a series of articles for the Chicago Sun-Times. Brave man.