Throughout a newly published feature article that appears in New York Magazine’s November 16 issue, the publication poses the question of whether or not it’s acceptable to listen to R. Kelly despite his history of allegedly having sex with minors.
The publication spoke with the Chicago, Illinois singer during a listening session for his forthcoming, thirteenth studio album, The Buffet, which is scheduled to hit shelves on December 11.
Although he refrained from going into detail, R. Kelly made it clear that he’s aware of the criticism and controversy that surrounds him.
“I’m going to always have the gift along with the curse,” he says. “I feel like I got a million people hating me, I’ve got maybe 8 million loving me. So I’ve got 9 million talking about me, and in a strange, magical way, it keeps me in the game.”
The publication also spoke with Jim DeRogatis, the former Chicago Sun-Times reporter and pop music critic who has conducted extensive research into R. Kelly’s alleged sex crimes. DeRogatis says that people need to be aware of the singer’s past.
“People need to be aware of, given the subject matter of his art, what he is really about,” DeRogatis says. “You can despise the individual and appreciate the art, fine, but you need to be aware that you’re making a conscious decision to overlook some very, very bad behavior. You’re either ignorant of what he’s been charged of, or you’ve thought it through and said, ‘That all matters less to me than his cool grooves.’ What I want is for people to at least think about it.”
During a subsequent interview that the publication conducted with R. Kelly a week or so later, the singer is asked whether or not he has a sexual attraction to underage girls, to which he replies: “That’s a rumor that comes from the Earth, like all rumors… It’s not true. I love women, period. If I wasn’t a celebrity, people wouldn’t be saying these things about me.”
The interviewer later asks R. Kelly about a string of close associates — including his brother, his ex-publicist, his former friend and long-time personal assistant — all publicly admitting that the singer has “a problem.”
“All those people have been fired by me,” he says. “If you’re going to ask me these questions, you have to make sense out of it. It wasn’t until after they got fired that they said these things. Go figure. I got one life, and I don’t want to spend it talking about negativity. I’ve moved on. Maybe you haven’t.”
To read the full article, click here.