We're sure R. Kelly meant well. But his new tribute song for the children of Newtown, Connecticut... well, it just can't help but bring back all kinds of icky memories about his history with minors.
The smooth R&B stylist and hip hopera genius just released "I Know You Are Hurting (Tribute To The Newtown, Ct. Kids)." It's an inspirational tune that seeks to reassure survivors of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting with lyrics like, "Find the blue skies/ Hear the choir sing/ Feel the power of a miracle." Kelly doesn't actually sing much, leaving that to the choirs of children and gospel singers:
The sentiment here is nice, sure. And we're used to hearing R. Kelly make uplifting ballads. But wouldn't it be best for everyone if Kelly avoided children in his music? Questions about Kelly's involvement with underage girls have followed him for years. He was acquitted of all charges in a 2008 child pornography case, but a tape allegedly showing Kelly having sex with a teenager still circulates online, and gossip rag sources swear it's him. And then there's that rumor that he illegally married Aaliyah when she was just 15 (one tell-all claimed she was pregnant at the time).
Kelly once said in a BET interview, "I can't keep answering these questions ... If you were charged with something and found innocent, then you can't be found guilty for being found innocent." Fair enough. But wouldn't the best way to avoid these questions be to avoid making children a central theme in your music?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.