post image

It Is Not Okay to Listen to Accused Serial Rapist R. Kelly

June 14, 2008, Robert Kelly shudders a sigh relief and walks out a Cook County courthouse a free man, cleared multiple child pornography charges in a trial that lasted six years. Look at him, armored in an expensive suit carefully chosen for the way its deep blue threads convey a calm and assertive innocence, look at him waving to supporters, one whom tells a reporter, "I just wish they leave the Kells alone." His face is the face a man who had his invincibility challenged and then reaffirmed, a man who would emerge from his trial by fire not only unscathed but strengthened. 

Now stop looking at Robert Kelly because Robert Kelly is a rich and powerful man and rich and powerful men can command our attention any time they choose. Instead, let your mind's eye wander over that linoleum drenched courthouse and into the city Chicago, into the home the girl who was on the tape that brought Robert Kelly to trial, the girl who at 14-years-old was raped and then had the videotape her rape played and replayed and analyzed and dissected, brutal frame by brutal frame, for a jury disbelieving strangers. Don't look away because she is not a rich and powerful man, and those who are not rich and powerful men rarely receive our attention. If only for a moment, give her your attention. 

It's been some thirteen years now since R. Kelly was first charged with child pornography possession, and since his acquittal we've settled into a drudgingly predictable pattern in which every few years the spotlight fades and then brightens again on the "stomach-churning" sexual assault allegations R. Kelly has faced, after which we see a wave intellectualized articles about separating great art from the sometimes terrible people who make great art, after which absolutely nothing happens, largely because the media's insistence on reframing R. Kelly's alleged systematic, repeated rape children as a question about art. 

"Is It Okay to Listen to R. Kelly?" asked Vulture in a recent article, making sure to credit him as a "musical genius" first and foremost before writing that he's been accused "awful things." And when we do that, when we insist on including R. Kelly's genius and music into our thinking about the things R. Kelly has been accused , it gives us a welcome escape hatch, it allows our attention to shift away from the path human devastation R. Kelly has left in his wake, away from the very real damage done to very real human beings, and into the land ideas and intellectual debate and cultural analysis, a land where it's far easier to continue to support R. Kelly because is it okay to listen to R. Kelly? If it's even a question it must be.

Ignorance is an excuse, although the weakest one, and one I know well. For years I gleefully bought and memorized R. Kelly albums, turned up the "Ignition (Remix)" when it came on the radio, wrote multiple articles about "Trapped in the Closet" alone. I knew Kelly had been charged with a sex crime, but in my mind, that trial had largely been reduced to a Chappelle Show skit, a reduction which conveniently allowed me to freely laugh at "Sex Kitchen." I'm now ashamed to admit that it never once crossed my mind that there was a child, an actual child with a name and a family and a favorite TV show, at the center those charges. And then, about two years ago, I actually took the time to read the "stomach-churning" sexual assault allegations against Kelly and suddenly I saw the very real children involved and I saw their parents putting on a brave face for their children but crying behind closed doors and I saw Kelly, unrepentant and untouched, and I was nauseated. So since that day I haven't listened to a single R. Kelly song or watched a single R. Kelly video or written a single word about R. Kelly, until now, because knowing what I now knew, how could it possibly be okay to listen to R. Kelly?

The litany allegations against Kelly, a litany that extends far beyond his one well-publicized trial, aren't classified, aren't hidden, many them are matters public record and easily accessed by anyone willing to look for them. So I have looked for them, because the stories young black women rarely demand our attention, particularly when placed against the stories rich and powerful men. Here are those stories...      

--------------

  • Kelly met Aaliyah when she was 12-years-old and then married her when she was 15, he was 28 at the time. He falsified marriage documents stating that she was 18, the marriage was later annulled and Aaliyah signed an NDA nondisclosure agreement] preventing her from speaking about Kelly and their relationship. Barry Hankerson, Aaliyah's uncle and Kelly's then manager, writes a letter to Kelly's attorney in an attempt to get Kelly psychiatric help for his "compulsion to pursue underage girls." 
It Is Not Okay to Listen to Accused Serial Rapist R. Kelly
  • Tiffany Hawkins sues Kelly, alleging that beginning when she was 15-years-old he repeatedly had group sex with her and other underage girls.
  • Patrice Jones sues Kelly, alleging that beginning when she was 16-years-old Kelly had sex with her repeatedly, impregnated her at 17 and then forced her to have an abortion. According to Jones' lawyer, "That abortion haunts her to this day. She’s under psychological care now. It’s changed her life.” 
  • Tracy Sampson sues Kelly, alleging that Kelly began having sex with her when she was a 17-year-old intern at Epic Records and that Kelly impregnated her. 
  • Chicago prosecutors charge Kelly with 21 counts child pornography centered around a tape that purportedly shows Kelly having sex with, and urinating on, his goddaughter, who was 14-years-old at the time. According to Jim DeRogatis, the Chicago-Sun Times reporter who covered the trial and wrote several stories investigating Kelly's alleged abuses, "You watch the video for which he was indicted and there is the disembodied look the rape victim. He orders her to call him Daddy. He urinates in her mouth and instructs her at great length on how to position herself to receive his 'gift.' It's a rape that you're watching." Kelly is acquitted after his attorneys successfully argue that the tape could have been manipulated to make the man in it look like Kelly.
It Is Not Okay to Listen to Accused Serial Rapist R. Kelly
  • During the trial, Lisa Van Allen testifies that she began having sex with Kelly when she was 17-years-old and had participated in group sex along with the 14-year-old girl in the tape. In her testimony, Allen also says that she once broke down crying during a taped sexual encounter and Kelly became angry because the footage was now useless. “He couldn’t watch that, he couldn’t do anything with that,” she said.  
  • Kelly is arrested in Miami on 16 additional charges child pornography, authorities claim they found multiple photos nude, underage girls and photos Kelly "involved in sexual conduct with the female minor" while searching his residence. The charges are dismissed because the search warrant was deemed to be invalid.
  • An unnamed young woman alleges in a more than one-hundred page lawsuit that when she was 14-years-old Kelly discovered her at a Chicago school, Kenwood Academy, and began to have sex with her along with other underage girls he recruited from the school, giving them sneakers and other gifts. She says she's "scarred" by the experience and later attempts to kill herself by slitting her wrists.
  • In 2004 another sex tape leaks and the woman in that tape, Deleon Richards, says that she began having sex with Kelly a decade earlier when she was a teenager.
  • According to DeRogatis, there have been "Dozens girls - not one, not two, dozens - with harrowing lawsuits," all which have been settled by Kelly. DeRogatis also recounts that he also routinely fields calls from other women who say they can't sleep because they're haunted by Kelly's sexual abuse them as a teenager. It's important to note that all the examples above, dozens examples, only include women who went as far as filing lawsuits against Kelly. There are also reportedly several other examples in which Kelly settled with women before a lawsuit was filed, and droves other women allegedly abused by Kelly who never pursued any action against him. For example, a woman told the Chicago Sun-Times that Kelly began having sex with her when she was 17 after they met at a video shoot, another said she was involved in group sex along Hawkins, another said she was one the other girls from Kenwood Academy whom Kelly routinely had sex with, and Chicago area police twice investigated Kelly for completely separate incidents than the incident he was eventually charged for, but dropped those charges when the women declined to press charges. 
  • Kelly's longtime publicist, Regina Daniels, abruptly quit saying that Kelly has "crossed a line" by having sex with their then college-age daughter, who Kelly had known since she was seven.  
  • Kelly’s brother, Carey Kelly, alleges that Kelly attempted to get him to say he was the one in the sex tape, which he refused to do. He also alleges that he was routinely asked to find girls who "looked underage" at Kelly's shows and get their phone numbers.  
  • Demetrius Smith, Kelly’s longtime friend and personal assistant, publishes a memoir, The Man Behind the Man, in which he writes that: “Underage girls had proven to be Kelly’s] weakness. He was obsessed. Sickly addicted."

-----------------

When we read about R. Kelly's career and the allegations surrounding him we ten see words like "complicated" thrown around, except there's nothing complicated about our relationship to R. Kelly's continuing career at all. It's exceedingly straightforward, at least once you've seen the full scope and horrific weight the sum allegations brought against him. You can choose to believe that those dozens women, Tiffany Hawkins and Patrice Jones and Tracy Sampson and Lisa Van Allen and Deleon Richards and the girl who slit her wrists in a failed attempt to kill herself and all the broken, anonymous women who never sued and have called Jim DeRogatis simply because they need someone who will believe them, are all liars, all them, in which case you can listen to Kelly's music without burden. Or you have to believe that R. Kelly is a serial rapist who routinely preys on children. It really is that uncomplicated, there is no gray area, no middle ground, no haze. And if you believe that R. Kelly has done nauseatingly terrible things to children and you still choose to buy his albums and attend his concerts and listen to his music, then you're choosing to support a serial rapist. It's exceedingly straightforward. 

The complication comes not with R. Kelly himself but with our own lives. None us have any actual relationship with Robert Sylvester Kelly, and so it would be strikingly easy to cut him from our lives, except through his music he's permanently embedded into our most valued possession, our memories. We hear "I Believe I Can Fly" and think about Space Jam and remember our childhoods, we hear "I'm A Flirt" and remember how impossibly good our freshmen year crush looked that night at that house party, we hear "Happy People" and remember dancing with our aunt at our cousin's wedding and what his music means to us because it was playing while we were with the people who mean something to us and in the places that mean something to us. I remember driving down Harvard Ave. one November night, parking and then literally running into my friend's apartment to tell her about this incredibly strange and amazing....song?...they'd just played on the radio, "Trapped in the Closet." Of all the thousands hours my life I've forgotten, I still remember that hour. Our memories are sacred spaces, and so, course, we fight to protect them, wrap them in layer after layer denial and intentional ignorance if necessary to keep them pure and untarnished by the ten crushing truths we learn later. 

And so we tell ourselves that R. Kelly has never been convicted in court as if we truly believe that the justice system is a perfect reflection actual guilt and innocence. And so with each allegation, we concoct an explanation, most likely one provided by Kelly for us until the sheer volume allegations and explanations defy any logic. And so we tell ourselves that R. Kelly is a genius, detour into intellectual debates about the lines between the art and an artist's personal life as if any amount genius can be equivalent to the pain a raped child. As if you would ever look one those abused women in the eyes, women who could be your daughter or sister or mother or friend, and say, "But he makes great music." We all perform these mental contortions to avoid confronting hard truths so we can continue to live our lives in comfort, especially out fear being guilty by association, myself included in more ways than I can count, but here, in this specific case, with all these dozens  women who have said Kelly abused them, it really shouldn't be that difficult to place their pain in front our own entertainment. 

Shattering the sanctity our musical memories, our heroes, is a painful, difficult business, but I've found one force stronger than even our resistance to change - compassion. It's easy to ignore the allegations against Kelly when they're presented as ideas, a thing to be debated and thought about and questioned, it's nearly impossible to ignore them when you see those women as real, actual humans. As I write this my two daughters are sleeping and it's not hard to imagine them in the place Tiffany Hawkins and Patrice Jones, those fears come quick and devastatingly sharp to parents. I imagine them telling me they were raped, I imagine finding them with their wrists slit. I imagine them telling me who raped them, and then I imagine that man walking free out a courtroom, shuddering a sigh relief armored in an expensive suit carefully chosen for the way its deep blue threads convey a calm and assertive innocence. I imagine that man going on to gather fame and adoration and money and it's not hard to imagine because I know it's some father's reality and now I'm on the verge tears and deciding that I'll sleep in my daughter's room tonight so I can know she's protected and safe. 

If I could make you see their face when you look at Kelly, if I could make you hear their voice instead Kelly's when you listen to his music, I would, because they're all I see and hear now, and if their names are one day more well known than his, then there might be something like justice.

It is not okay to listen to R. Kelly.

Like this article? DJBooth is committed to quality music journalism, never clickbait. You can join us by downloading our app or following us on Facebook or Twitter.

[hupso]
post image

DJ Khaled Named 1st Ever Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment Ambassador

It looks like there’s “another one” for the continually-buzzing DJ Khaled. Adding to his tally endorsement and business dealings, the Miami social media star has been named as the first-ever artist ambassador for Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment.

From NetsDaily.com:

DJ Khaled will command BSE’s various social media accounts and curate artist and DJ lineups for the Barclays Center and NYCB LIVE venues. This Friday (Oct. 20), the “Wild Thoughts” artist will also open Billboard Lounge at the Barclays Center following the Brooklyn Nets home game.

Photo: WENN.com

[hupso]
post image

Jordan Brand Reveals AJ Online Collection Site [Photos]

There are now 32 models Michael Jordan’s signature shoe, which means it has a deep and expansive history. Jordan Brand has launched an online collection site that serves as a hub for the brand’s history fresh kicks.

The AJ Online Collection touts a focus on an “engaging and curated user experience.” That means OG shoe sketches, designs, vintage photos and more, all sourced by a community collectors and JB”s own archives.
Jordan Brand Reveals AJ Online Collection Site Photos]

Peep some images below and check out the AJ Online Collection right here.

Jordan Brand Reveals AJ Online Collection Site Photos]

Jordan Brand Reveals AJ Online Collection Site Photos]

Jordan Brand Reveals AJ Online Collection Site Photos]

Photo: Jordan Brand

[hupso]
post image

Amir Tripp – Design 2.0 | Hip Hop Songs

[hupso]
post image

Gucci Mane Shows Off His & Hers Rolls-Royce Wraiths Ahead Of Wedding

Atlanta rapper Gucci Mane and his fiancée Keyshia Ka’oir continue to be #relationshipgoals.

This time around, the couple have now have matching Rolls-Royce Wraiths. News the lavish purchase for his fiancée was made on Monday (October 16) an Instagram photo  the two them standing in front the “His and Hers” set luxury vehicles.

The cost the vehicle starts somewhere over $300,000, according to Car and Driver.

“His and Hers Guwop bought his wife a Wraith!,” Gucci Mane wrote in the caption to his photo.

Gucci showed f the gift during Monday’s wedding rehearsal. Clad in all red, the couple walked down the aisle in a practice ceremony.

Engaged since last November, Gucci and Keyshia will ficially walk down the aisle on Tuesday (October 17).

The wedding will air live on BET as part  The Mane Event reality show. The 10-episode series will document the ups and downs planning the wedding.

[hupso]
post image

Whethan unveils brief Bearson collaboration 'Tour Beats One' – Dancing Astronaut

As a staple the future bass scene, releases are consistent, and treasured by his fanbase. Responsible for indie-tinged, sun-kissed hits like “Savage” and “Good Nights,” Whethan has dropped a snippet a work titled “Tour Beat One” — a collaboration with — sharing this in the description:

Whethan is currently deep into the which will hit well over a dozen cities — upcoming stops include Orlando, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. Whethan rose fast during the peak future bass and now he’s expanded his into a wide variety chill beats. The short and sweet “Tour Beat One” is an extension a blossoming Whethan sound.

Read More

Whethan unveils brief Bearson collaboration 'Tour Beats One' - Dancing Astronaut[hupso]
post image

Porn Stars in Music Videos: An Absurdly Detailed Investigation

When a story breaks that won't be covered fairly (or at all) by larger media moguls, RefinedHype DJBooth is there. When some sort injustice or wrongdoing goes unreported, RefinedHype DJBooth is there. We are the lighthouse in the foggy, treacherous seas internet journalism. A beacon hope where there is only despair. If we didn't prove it with our groundbreaking absurdly detailed investigation into rapper poses we will certainly do it now.

Recently, B.o.B put Allie Haze in one his videos. For those readers out there who don't know Haze—which judging by the speed the booty the week answers and the borderline unhealthy stalking ScHoolboy's video girls is none you—she is an adult film actress, A.K.A a porn star. Sure, putting a porn star in your music video is provocative, but that won't stop B.o.B and it certainly didn't stop these artists. It's time for an absurdly detailed investigation into porn stars in music videos.

So that's Allie Haze and Skin Diamond in one video? Hot damn! But this isn't first-time B.o.B has incorporated the use Academy Award-winning talent in his videos. You might remember the "Headband" lyric video, which features the booties Kristina Rose, Ava Rose and Sunny Lane, because how could you forget? Damn... five porn stars in just two videos? It looks like Bobby Ray might just be the King Porn Star Featured Music Videos.

Not so fast, says Eminem. While you know Em for his funny, ten satirical videos, Shady has also been known to put quite a few porn stars in his videos. Obviously, Lisa Ann was in the "We Made You" video because she looks just like Sarah Palin. The legendary Jenna Jameson was in the "Without Me" video and the equally as blond (though definitely less popular) Gina Lynn was in the "Superman" video. Also, I'm not sure if this counts, but Paris Hilton was in the "Just Lose It" video, and we all remember that video. But, that's not all. Apparently, Eminem spends more time on Redtube than a 14-year-old boy without parental supervision. Em also put Sasha Grey, perhaps the most famous porn star on Earth, in his "Space Bound" video. Sorry B.o.B, but I think Eminem has you beat not only in star power, but volume too; he has starred alongside more porn actresses than Ron Jeremy.

Eminem's porn star obsession also rubbed f (no pun intended) on his mentee, 50 Cent. In the "Disco Inferno" video, not just any booty would do (although there is a lot any booty anyway), so Fiddy called on Daisy Marie to really put the booty over the edge. Also, ironically, the video features a cameo from Nick Cannon, who isn't allowed to watch porn because Mariah says so. He has to settle for BET Uncut videos.

Like this article? DJBooth is committed to quality music journalism, never clickbait. You can join us by downloading our app or following us on Facebook or Twitter.

[hupso]
post image

Is Migos Holding Quavo Back From Becoming a Breakout Solo Star?

There’s been an ongoing joke on social media for the last few years that Migos are the male version Destiny’s Child. The comparison has nothing to do with music, and everything to do with Quavo’s undeniable star power.

There's a noticeable popularity surrounding Quavo, people see him as the group's leader, and the member most likely to achieve solo success. Kelly and Michelle were both talented vocalists, key ingredients to what made Destiny's Child such a sensation, but the girls didn’t carry the blinding glow Beyoncé Knowles. She had what cannot be bought, the kind X-factor that can be felt the moment she sings, dances, or even enters a room—the world knew Beyoncé had the radiant shine a future star that would go beyond an all-female singing group.

Quavo too exudes this shine and has the potential to break away from the trio and stand alone in this era rap music.

The group has had a huge influence on today’s sound; their flows and melodies have crawled into the veins trap culture, and it seems right to acclaim Quavo as heir to the trap throne. There’s swagger in his rhymes, charisma in his melodies, and an uncanny ability to turn a phrase into a hit.

During a short, promotional phone video for the Migos’ rap snacks—completely on the fly—Quavo came up with the “Dab Ranch” viral jingle. The video boomed across the internet, the gravitation toward the playful rhyme proving Quavo could be enticing without effort. The freestyle has ficially been made into a song that was recently previewed.

On Christmas, Quavo made a Migos-esque hook about Santa dropping the sack f, and Ducko McFli, one the producers on Mike Will’s Ear Drummers label, added a beat to the video clip, leading to the song accumulating over 43k plays on SoundCloud. Both examples display his innate gift to create captivating internet hits on a whim.

Quavo has outsourced his talents to peers on more than a few occasions. His prowess for hooks can be heard on 2 Chainz’s “Good Drank” and YFN Lucci’s “Key To The Streets”—both feature Quavo Wonder using his Auto-Tune-drenched Southern drawl to make infectious choruses.

One Quavo’s best performances, though, can be found on Travis Scott’s debut album, his feature on “Oh My Dis Side” bringing to light the power his presence. The back-and-forth with Travis is like watching Klay Thompson and Steph Curry take turns draining 3's from beyond the arc. Another winning performance was executed on “Pick Up The Phone”—there’s a chemistry between Scott and Quavo that needs to be explored through a bigger project.

When Chance brought him in on as a feature on Surf, that's when my eyes opened, not only can he stand alone apart from Takef and Offset, but he can also go outside the comfort zone the trap. Young Thug’s  “F Cancer,” G-Eazy’s “Meantime,” Ty Dolla’s “Long Time” and Meek Mill’s “The Difference” are just a few times Quavo appeared without his Migos brethren but brought the same charisma that makes him stand out when they're together. 

Swae Lee, ½ Rae Sremmurd, has also received a mountain requests for solo music. When fans are engrossed with a particular member a group, they turn that admiration into a demand. After the release Culture, I’m certain that Quavo will be hounded to focus solely on himself.

He has solo records out, a few floating around the net, but they don't seem like true solitary efforts, failing to capture his star power like Migo songs and his impactful features. His voice has always been accompanied by others, always someone contributing to a hook or verse. Even though Offset and Takef don’t have the same star quality as Quavo, I feel like the three all contribute to Migos’ enchanting charm.

Recently, during the promo for their album, the Migos read a children's book over the “Bad and Boujee” instrumental while at Power 106. Watching it, seeing how they play f each other, the adding ad libs—the teamwork—is like watching a team scientists in a laboratory. Alone, they would sound silly, but together, there’s a sense comradery, a unified energy that turned a playful task into a magic moment. This same feeling is at the heart their music, the fun comes from the three playing f each other's energy.

It makes me wonder if from the very beginning, could Quavo had made it without Takef and Offset? Honestly, I believe he couldn’t. They're like Huey, Dewey, and Louie—it's hard to imagine the three apart. 

I’ve always been a fan Krayzie Bone. Out all the members Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, I thought his solo career had the most promise. His debut album, Thug Mentality 1999, was well-received and was awarded a Platinum plaque. His sophomore effort Thug on da Line also was met with applause and sold enough to go Gold. But after being featured on Chamillionaire’s ringtone phenomenon “Ridin,” he hasn’t made much an impact in mainstream rap.

You can have style, promise, and charisma but still struggle to find your place when it comes to longevity. Quavo’s potential will likely transition into some solo success, but there's no telling how big he can be alone. Migos are currently the biggest group in rap, they will likely continue to conquer 2017, but splitting up too soon could very well bring to an end a very good thing.

Groups break up, they take breaks, and they explore the possibility standing alone. It took Jeezy leaving Boyz In Da Hood to become the trap star that he is today. It took Lil Wayne being left behind by his Hot Boys brothers to carry Cash Money on his back and become a giant in the rap game. Sometimes, it takes the courage to step out by yourself to realize how big you can become.

There are other examples: The Cool Kids took some time apart, explored the world as solo acts, and came back together. People are excited to see what they do next. Absence will make your fans grow fonder.

Maybe that’s what the Migos should do—separate while they're loved, see what the world fers, and come back together like the trap Voltron to a roar applause. Who knows, maybe Offset and Takef will be the ones to rocket to rap stardom?

Together or apart, there’s no question that Quavo Knowles has enough star power to light up a Christmas tree. If he chooses the path a solo artist, he has all the promise to be the rap industry's next breakout star. 

By Yoh, aka Yohavo Knowles, aka @Yoh31

Like this article? DJBooth is committed to quality music journalism, never clickbait. You can join us by downloading our app or following us on Facebook or Twitter.

[hupso]
post image

Hip-Hop Cares: Jay-Z, Cardi B, T.I., Fat Joe, Remy Ma & More Rocked TIDAL X: Brooklyn [Photos]

Even while Donald Trump is f golfing or tweeting, Hip-Hop cares for people that could use some help. The TIDAL X: Brooklyn benefit concert went down last night and it featured show-stopping performances from Chris Brown, Jay-Z, Jennifer Lopez and more.

Power 105’s Angie Martinez held down the hosting duties and let it be known that the artists graciously donated their time to help those affected by natural disasters in Puerto Rice, Mexico, Florida and Texas.

As for the show, while the opening acts like Fifth Harmony and Rapsody were cool, and got plenty support, there was no doubt everyone was waiting for the headliners. They weren’t disappointed thanks to fiery sets from Jennifer Lopez, Chris Brown, Remy Ma and Fat Joe and Jay-Z.

Peep photos from the festivities below and on the following pages.

Yes, Fabolous was rocking a fur. Remy, too.

 

Photos: Getty for Tidal X: Brooklyn
<–nextpage–>

<–nextpage–>

<–nextpage–>

<–nextpage–>

[hupso]