R. Kelly saga continues to devolve


R&B singer R. Kelly continues to be in the news. After having his bail posted by a “friend” recently, Kelly continued to make headlines as he sat down for an interview with CBS This Morning’s Gayle King.

The interviews are unlikely to change the minds of those who have already made up their minds one way or another about Kelly’s guilt or innocence. Marked by explosions of temper and expletives, the interview excerpts with the singer are arguably difficult to watch.

And, even after Kelly proclaimed his innocence on morning television this week, he still ended up arrested yesterday due to failure to pay child support.

R. Kelly: antics and arguments

Analysts of various sort are trying to make sense of Kelly’s behavior in the first interview. In years past, when interviewers would try to bring up the issue of sexual misconduct, Kelly would simply storm out, often ripping off a microphone in the process.

For her part, King has been lauded for being firm and calm with the singer. While Kelly does not storm out, he does stand, yell and cry. His voice breaks when he talks about how people have failed to tell the truth about him. Frequently, Kelly uses the phrase “Come on, man!” At least one analyst has attributed the wording to Kelly’s attempt to appeal to men for support. Of course, the phrase has been in popular use for decades, so that theory is not as sound as it might appear.

Of more interest is Kelly’s breaking voice as he discusses his inability to make a living with people constantly bringing allegations. Like Kelly, his young live-in girlfriends, whose parents participated in “Surviving R. Kelly” used the same emotive tactic when decrying their parents stupidity. As their claims rose to a fever pitch, tears broke their voices. The young women appeared well-dressed, but there was something about their delivery that mimicked Kelly’s. It might be a stretch to say that they sound rehearsed, but then again, maybe not.

Entertainment Tonight and other sources report that Kelly owes more than $160,000 in child support. The singer’s offer to pay half of that amount right away was rejected. According to Entertainment Tonight, Kelly’s “team” is working to procure the funds. The rejection of his deal is reported to have “deflated” Kelly.

That Kelly is one person having to fight several adversaries is obvious. More than anything, his posturing and yelling indicate cracks in the armor that has shielded Kelly for decades.

King’s famous friend, Oprah Winfrey, took to Twitter to applaud King for being calm and to insist that audiences be allowed to see the entire interview. A primetime special scheduled to air Friday, March 8 at 8 p.m. on CBS.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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