"I finally realized it wasn't getting better. It gets worse."
The world is abuzz this Monday with revelations of Surviving R. Kelly, a three-day docus produced by Dream Hampton, sent in the United States, with testimonies from many women claiming to have been abused by R&B singer R. Kelly.
In short, Kelly is accused of keeping women, often young women, against their will in a violent "cult". The series claims sexual abuse, psychological manipulation and large-scale emotional abuse.
At the heart of the documentary film there is no question of what drives an individual like Kelly to behave as he behaves, but what we do as a society that allows such things to happen in the open so long.
For example, a few days ago on Twitter, comedian David Baddiel wrote: "Philip Larkin was a racist misogynist, TS Eliot, an anti-Semite. They were both great poets. We must be able to keep the conflicting thoughts together, because only the pure will not do good art."
We must be able to keep the conflicting thoughts together. We only must. Otherwise, we lose art.
Baddiel did not refer to R. Kelly. In fact, I don't know who he was referring to. Could it be Kevin Hart, who went down as Oscar's host thanks to homophobic tweets several years ago? Could it have been Xxxtentacion, the popular, dead, 20-year-old rapper who was accused of brutalizing his pregnant girlfriend? Or Louis CK, who disappeared for a year after barring a charge of sexual harassment?
Chris Brown? Kevin Spacey? It can be one of the endless deluge of artists whose talents are undermined by the things they have done in their personal lives.
Clips via lifetime
One question: at what time do we no longer do must appreciate the art of those who say and believe and do terrible things?
The surviving R. Kelly series can help us answer this question. By fully illuminating the logical conclusion of a culture that allows celebrities to do what they want, simply because they make good songs or good movies, the six-part series shows us what happens when the celebrity force falls into the wrong hands.
Very few celebrities will commit acts as hideous as they Kelly is accused of, but Dream Hampton's series should leave us without illusions that the world is full by people prepared to leave decency at the door in the name fandom.
The moral compass of society obviously weighs celebrity assault on a spectrum. Some behaviors are indiscretions, some are shameful crimes, others are unforgivable atrocities. Where along the spectrum do we decide that we are too shocked and too sick to continue injury?
Let's follow the timeline of R. Kelly's stardom and find out how more could have been done to stop him. As a survivor of R. Kelly's details when he was 27, he wrote a song called "Age Is Not Nothin" & # 39; But A Number (seriously), which was sung by pop star Aaliyah. He married her illegally with her secretly – it was illegal because she was 15. The very next year he was nominated for two Grammys.
In 2002, Kelly was separately charged with urinating on an underground girl in a sex band and was in possession of a digital camera containing inappropriate images of underground girls. The whole next year he released "Tengnition (Remix)". It was built by Rolling Stone as one of the 500 greatest songs of all time.
In 2008, the journalist Touré R. Kelly (41 at the time) asked if he liked "teenage girls". R. Kelly's answer? "When you say teenager, how old are we talking?"
Every moment was an opportunity for society to stand in the way of an accident that needed through people's lives. So at what point do we look at the words, beliefs, hints and looks and smirks of those who make art and decide No, something must be said before this gets worse.
When R. Kelly needed clarification on what a teenager was .. pic.twitter.com/qV1BBalV5H
– Where are you Scoot? Where is it?! (@AshleyShyMiller) July 17, 2017
No one did that in Kelly's case, and now we are here, in the wake of a documentary that paints him as the leader of a violent sex cult, who has effectively kidnapped young women from their families to operate a harem in Georgia. In recent years, he has collaborated with a veritable who is of popular musicians. Lady Gaga, Snoop Dogg, JAY-Z, Mariah Carey, Pharrell, Diddy. We can't imagine any of them taking the call this morning.
Without a doubt, their audience and agents have refused to even let them touch the "Surviving R. Kelly" project. Honestly, that's fine. There is nothing that can be said now that will reduce the damage done by legitimizing such a man. Sin worked with him in the first place. In other words, it's too late.
Only & # 39; All You & # 39; The singer John Legend agreed to be interviewed for Surviving R. Kelly and has been simply calling Kelly to a "serial shaving force" in his official Twitter account.
Separating the art from the artist is one thing. Granting that R. Kelly has a sweet voice and a talent for song writing is one thing. Like it or not, people will continue to listen to R. Kelly. In fact, Spotify has confirmed that his streams have increased 16% since the documentary began. Support, financing and collaboration with the artist is another. Eye-catching when there is overwhelming evidence of misdemeanor is an absolute mistake in itself.
Everyone has a choice to make. There is no censorship. You can still watch Kevin Spacey's movies and listen to R. Kelly's old songs. No rule, no law, no one stops you. People can tell you that it makes them unpleasant – perhaps because they have different thresholds over what behaviors they will tolerate from artists. It's up to you to decide if you can still feel good when you listen to "I think I can fly".
Years later, Touré reflected and said, "It's really crazy, that Kelly has been able to survive these claims for so long."
As for survivor R. Kelly, R. Kelly has survived somehow. That's because society has given him.