"I think I can fly" is his biggest hit. But 50 million albums sold, three Grammys and awards are also the most successful R&B artists over the past 25 years.
Singer R. Kelly is one of the masters of the American music scene, Billboard Magazine ranked him in a 2015 ranking not far behind Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Prince. This is the bright side of Robert Sylvester Kelly, the son of a single mom who grew up in a social settlement in Chicago, first appearances as street musician, later as a singer, songwriter, producer.
The dark side of the man who calls himself R. Kelly has been around for a few days it Theme for conversation in American media. The six-hour documentary series "Surviving R. Kelly", which appears in the evening program of the station's lifetime, is a simple charge against the now 52-year-olds. It bundles abuse claims, some of which have been known for decades, with outstanding clout. Many women accuse the singer of having sexually or emotionally abused her, sometimes even as a teenager. Fear, disgust and shame are written by the weeping women in the face show.
Is this the beginning of the end for R. Kelly? Will Robert Sylvester Kelly be the first known music in the United States to be disturbed by the MeToo movement? The odds have definitely increased in recent days.
All just character murder, the artist says
Chicago and Atlanta prosecutors are now investigating allegations of pedophilia and sexual abuse of the singer. Kelly has repeatedly denied the allegations, accusing critics of a rumor campaign. The District of the Cook District District Attorney General in Illinois called witnesses on a press conference Tuesday to speak up. "Get in touch," said prosecutor Kim Foxx. "We cannot identify without the cooperation of victims and witnesses."
Victims, these are the women who are going to have sex with the singer when they are under 16 when he was already full age. Witnesses, it is those who assure that the singer has surrounded himself with women that he has become a sex slave and who is still not in contact with his relatives.
Prosecutor Foxx described the allegations on Tuesday as "very, very worrying." She was in contact with the families of two young women currently under the influence of R. Kelly.
Also in Georgia, local media reported that the prosecutor's office in the Fulton district has started investigating the singer. A speaker would not comment on the request, nor did the singer comment on it.
On the other hand, a superstar of the music industry has declared itself public: pop icon Lady Gaga. The 32-year-old apologized for the collaboration with the singer. "I regret my weak judgment when I was young and not to have said anything before," the music told Twitter about the text. At the same time, she announced that she would never work again with the music and remove the song "Do What U Want" from iTunes and other streaming platforms.
Again and again outside the courts
The first public charges against R. Kelly have been made for 25 years. They began in 1994 with Kly's doubtful marriage to the then 15-year-old singer Aaliyah, the connection was later interrupted. A year later, he is said to have started a relationship with the then 17-year-old Lizzette Martinez. Kelly then checked how she was dressing, how she was talking, and who she was friends with, said Martinez the Buzzfeed site in May last year.
According to the Vox website, at least four court cases involving sex with various young girls follow in the late 1990s and early 1990s, and are decided outside the courts. In 2008, a child pornography trial, the singer is found innocent. When the verdict is read – a acquittal in 14 counts – Kelly bursts into tears. For almost a decade, it remains silent around the artist.
He publishes albums, performs at festivals. But then a buzzfeed report on a distinguished "sex cult" in the summer of 2017 strikes him back in the headlines: He is said to hold young women in several properties in the country, who allegedly have to ask for the passage to the toilet for permission, and the Force sex. Two women support later details of the review.
Kelly talks about insult and announces legal action. In November, a lawsuit was filed by Kelly's second ex-wife, Drea Kelly.
She accuses him of having abused her emotionally, physically and sexually and claims to have feared her life in marriage. A few days after the New Year, "Surviving R. Kelly" goes on the air. The hashtag "#MuteRKelly " (German: R. Kelly mute) it's already there. And yet: The implications of Kelly's claims today are completely open.
The first music to crash over MeToo?
For its label RCA, which belongs to the Sony Music group, all this is a tightrope action. As long as Kelly is not convicted of any offense, he remains a profitable star. But in times of MeToo, solidarity with a man who allegedly forced teenage girls into sex or controlled their privacy is not infinite. Streaming service Spotify is practiced in reason Kelly already in a PR balancing: Kelly's music was actually deleted from the playlists, but is still available.
The case is reminiscent of film producer Harvey Weinstein, whose trial is set to begin in May, and sentenced actor Bill Cosby: in one way, the charges against these men are often erased, but eventually they paint a bleak picture of possibly years of neglect. They have always refused to have had sex with women against their will. The great MeToo moment is still in the music industry. R. Kelly may be the first.