Growing up, I had two little brothers. Me and my brother right under me always got into all kinds of trouble. Mainly because well we were kids and we had this addiction to pushing the envelope. If we didn’t caught, we’d do something else a little riskier. I’d always believed it was better to ask for forgiveness than permission. Some people would call us risktakers, while my mother on the other hand called it being hard-headed. It was always a struggle between just walking away and will we’re going to get in trouble for this. For the most part, we always went towards the latter which usually ended up with us getting a whooping.
Needless to say, that need to be risktaker followed me into high school. During my four years in high school, my best friend (who was also a risktaker…lol) and I seemed to always find ourselves in Saturday detention. Anything you can get possibly a detention for, we covered it. Well one day, we were late getting to school, so we decided to stop for breakfast. Since we were late anyway, we figured what would it hurt. We figured there was no reason to be late and hungry. So, we stopped at Burger King and then proceeded to school.
Now our school had a no food in the classroom policy, so once we got there, we headed to the Commons (we didn’t want to break that rule) and sat down to eat our breakfast. Fast-forward five minutes and one of the assistant principals walked passed and saw us. Let me start with this, the man didn’t like us anyway. Yes, it may have been because we were always in trouble, or he was just an ass (which is what I really think it was) and couldn’t help but harass us.
After passing us, he gave it a few minutes before he made a beeline back to us. At this point, we knew confrontation was on the horizon. He approached us about why we were sitting in the commons during class period. We explained to him we’d just gotten to school and we were eating before we went to class. Words were exchanged, demands were made and just like that we were in office to retrieve another Saturday detention.
Both she and I went through our usual routine of demanding to see what rule we violated, argued we hadn’t broken any rules, requested to speak to the head principal and asked to call our parents. To no avail, we were sent to class with our detentions and none of our demands honored. Knowing what was coming next, we both ran to class to call our mothers. We figured if we could beat him calling, we could tell our sides of the story, so it wouldn’t appear as bad as we knew he was going to make it.
I’ll just tell you my mother was pissed and completely over me getting Saturday detentions for stupid shit. She felt that the only reason I called was because I knew I was wrong (which was very true) and I was trying to lessen the punishment (which is also true) I knew was coming my way. Me calling my mother had nothing to do with getting the detention, because I’d gotten plenty she didn’t know about, and more afterwards. Me calling her was because I was trying to do damage control. My confession was solely based on the fact I knew he was going to call her and I was trying to beat him to the punch with my version.
I was trying to get her on my side. Unfortunately, it backfired (for both of us by the way) and I received two weeks of punishment.
Which leads me to Robert Kelly and his 19-minute confessional that comes off like damage control versus self-healing. One day after R. Kelly decided to put his 19-minute tell-all to music, most fans are taken back. Mainly because Kelly put most of his indiscretions to a long ass song many could have done without.
Reaching for the benefit of the doubt, Kelly released the track hoping his loyal fans (and those who have since abandoned him) will see and understand why he is the way he is. In the song, he addressed the sex cult allegations, his financial straits and how he was sexually abused as a child.
But don’t be fooled. Kelly is the true definition of a great musician. Though this is set up like a confession—and put to a horrible beat—Kelly tells more secrets in these 19-minutes than he did with his 30 part Trapped in the Closet series—hoping to dim the spotlight on him and call off the blood thirsty #MuteRKelly movement has been putting pressure on him. In part of the song, Kelly addresses the movement and what he feels is a public lynching.
“Women’s groups, my god / Now don’t get it twisted, I do support them, but why they wanna bring down my art?” he asks at one point. Later, he sings, “My work has nothing to do with my private life” and “Yeah, go ahead and stone me, point your finger at me/ Turn the world against me, but only God can mute me,” he sings.
On the run from public scrutiny, Kelly is hoping to clear the air by admitting he lied about sleeping with people he shouldn’t have slept with (a friend’s girl & girlfriend’s best friend), while stating his talent a gift and a curse and has being taken advantage of by money-hungry people. He also cleverly admits to sleeping with older and younger women but dismisses the sex with underage women allegations.
He also adds, “Don’t push your daughter in my face because your agenda is to get paid,” as his way of confirming what his fans have believed was the source of these allegations all along regarding sleeping with minors.
Kelly also touches on the comments referring to his lack of respect for women (even though he called them bitches & hoes in this song) and the sex cult conspiracy.
“Say I’m abusing these women. / What the fuck? That’s some absurd shit. / They brainwashed, really? / Kidnapped, really? / Can’t eat, really? / Real talk that shit sounds silly,” he sings.
The entire song sounds like one long ass conversation which is almost as bad as Kanye’s “Ye vs. The People” song where he also tried to clear up some comments he mistakenly let fall out of his mouth. He mentions that he doesn’t care about the public opinions, his time spent with Wendy Williams and their conversation. He gives a little insight on where he stood with the late Aaliyah and how his attorney advised him not to discuss anything surrounding the sex tape that surfaced of him and a young girl about ten years ago.
There are also other jewels dropped as Kelly informs the public about like his failure to finish school, skipping classes and church, being illiterate, how the industry and managers have extorted him, along with other failures and mistakes he made growing up. He also adds some commentary regarding his legal woes and how he signed away his rights as a young artist. He even calls out Chicago (his hometown), blaming them for leaving him on that branch to suffer by himself. He explains his feelings about Spotify and their removal of him from their play rotation.
“Now the truth in this message is I’m a broke-ass legend, the only reason I stay on tour is ’cause I gotta pay my rent,” he sings. “I never thought it would come to this, to be the most disrespected artist / So I had to write a song about it / Because they always take my words and twist it / Believe me, it’s hard to admit all this,” he continues to sing.
I think the highlight of this song was when Kelly referred to the implied bias between him and Hugh Hefner. The comment became a popular argument when the #MuteRKelly campaign kicked off. Kelly sings how he admired and was friends with Hefner, however when he died—he was revered and admired—versus being crucified like the singer himself.
If we’re being honest, this song is really a self-serving way of seeking absolution for all the misguided deeds that have finally caught up with him. For the longest, time has been on his side, but with the crying about being broke—it seems the “alleged” hush money payments have strained those pockets. He’s run out of excuses and the only thing he can do is try and rally some public support. Once I finally made it to the end, I realized he was doing the same thing I had told myself all during my childhood:
It is better to ask for forgiveness than permission.