Singer R. Kelly, who is widely considered to have preyed on young girls despite being found not guilty of child pornography due to the poor video quality of his alleged sex tape with a 14 year-old (he also married now-deceased singer Aaliyah in 1994 when she was 15 and he was 27) seems to have revealed that he’s functionally illiterate. While describing how he’d achieved success despite setbacks, he explained “I don’t even read, really.” I guess that explains the lyrics to “I Believe I Can Fly,” which he referenced while denouncing the “haters” in a rambling speech at a music conference in Chicago last week. Kelly also called himself a “survivor,” and explained that his “life is a story” that he tells through music. He attributed his success to believing in himself and sending out love instead of hate. I will refrain from making comments about the predatory “love” that he directs at underage girls. To be fair to a guy who probably doesn’t deserve it, the theme of the conference was “burying the stigma of hate [in the] Midwest music business,” so he wasn’t getting all preachy about the haters for nothing:
While giving some kind of motivational speech to the city of Chicago, [sic: it was at the “Midwest Music Networking” event] R. Kelly admitted that he can’t read, kinda sorta. “I don’t even read, really. And I’m not even afraid to say that,” he began, before launching into a diatribe about the power of love, or whatever. “I got y’all beat if ya hating on me, ’cause I love you. That’s why I keep doing what I do. Isn’t it weird? ‘You just keep on going! How do you keep going and I’m standing here?’ ‘Cause hatin’ is heavy. How you gonna believe you can fly, you too damn heavy. You sinkin’. Stop hatin’ and fly.” I’m actually going to keep hating, thanks. And you can join Nas as one of those artists who shouldn’t do anything with a microphone except sing into it. via Fakeshoredrive
Kelly did make some decent points during his speech. He touched on the themes of triumphing over hardship and having faith in your ability to succeed. He also said that he would meet his haters with love and that “I got ya’ll beat if you’re hating on me. Because I love you. That’s why I keep doing what I do.” And I thought he did it for the money. Kelly, 42, grew up in the projects on the South Side of Chicago. He was the second youngest of four children raised by a single mother, and never graduated from high school. For all the very accurate derogatory things you can say about the guy, he did achieve a huge amount of success despite poor odds. So did Roman Polanski. That shouldn’t give either of them a pass, although that’s what seems to have happened in both cases.