The R. Kelly blues . . .
To hear R&B star R. Kelly’s publicist tell it, his client spends a lot of time “singing gospel music” in his Trump Tower digs and “talking about his mama.”
“He likes to look out his window at those five big “M’s” (golden arches) hovering over the five McDonald’s restaurants he can see from his apartment,” said publicist Darrell Johnson.
“That’s his heart,” added Johnson.
“Those huge McDonald’s ‘M’s’ remind him of his mom because that’s where they would go to eat when he was poor,” he said.
“He’s talking about his mama, mama, mama all the time and having the view of one of the McDonald’s nearby [600 N. Clark St.] makes him feel good,” said Johnson.
“It’s nothing perverted or bad,” he said . . . referring to accusations in the past the singer, who is awaiting trial on new sex abuse charges, frequented McDonald’s to speak with young women.
Johnson claims Kelly also spends a lot of time recording songs “in hopes of playing some songs in the future,” he said. “He also plays basketball wherever he can as a way to relax,” because the “assault on him personally and professionally has reached the point of absurdity.”
The singer did not appear in court Friday when Judge Lawrence Flood ruled cameras will be allowed inside the courtroom as the cases work their way through the legal system.
There were no cameras allowed in Cook County courtrooms when R. Kelly went to trial on child pornography charges in 2008, a blockbuster case that took six years to go to trial.
“He smokes cigars and drinks a lot of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, but he leads a rather dull life these days.”
Well, I guess that’s one word for it.
Check the pin, please . . .
Kathy Byrne, the daughter of Chicago’s only woman mayor — Jane M. Byrne — who was chairperson of Susana Mendoza’s failed mayoral campaign, is gobsmacked.
“It’s so exciting … yet almost unbelievable,” said Byrne.
“Who would ever have thought — considering how difficult it was to honor my mother’s almost forgotten legacy with a park [and subsequently an expressway] four years ago — that one of two women, both African-American, will be the city’s next mayor?” she said.
The shocker: “And they will be in charge of nearly half of the population in Illinois if Lori Lightfoot wins the mayor’s race — because Toni Preckwinkle will still be head osneedf the Cook County Board of Commissioners!”
Byrne, an attorney, who had given Mendoza a gem-encrusted lapel pin her mother wore the day she was elected mayor of Chicago back in 1979, is now wearing her mom’s treasured piece of Chicago skyline jewelry given to her by the late mayor’s father, Bill Burke. (Mayor Byrne served from 1979-1983.)
“Susana pulled me aside and gave it back to me election night, which turned into a two-way run-off between Lori and Toni.”
“Mom was proud of that pin. It symbolizes the city. And how wonderful this city will have a woman back wearing the mayoral mantle.”
Baby on board . . .
But let the royal bump countdown begin!
Although the royal gender is still unclear on American-born Meghan Markle’s first child, due in April, the British baby betting brokers are having a field day with predicting names for the royal issue.
• Backshot: Prince Harry and Markle, whose first name is actually Rachel, have been huh-hush on the baby’s gender — although Us Weekly reported the duchess confessed to her gal pals at a baby shower she is expecting a boy.
• Name game: Betting on Royal baby names is a British tradition — and Ladbrokes, a Brit-based betting company, claims the name Victoria heads the female list while Albert tops the male chart.
• To wit: Prince Harry’s full name is Henry Charles Albert David.
• Hmm. No mention of Markle’s parents’ first names, Thomas and Doria, on the betting list.
Sneedlings . . .
I spy: “Empire” star Taraji P. Henson popped into TAO last weekend for dinner with family and friends before hitting up the nightclub for some dancing, but no chit-chat about her co-star (son) actor Jussie Smollett, who is awaiting trial on allegations he falsely reported a hate crime . . . . Jason “The Bachelor” Tartick spotted at a VIP table at TAO nightclub last Saturday minus his “Bachelorette” star girlfriend Kaitlyn Bristowe. . . . Singer Mariah Carey dined with her boyfriend, choreographer Bryan Tanaka, at RPM Italian last Sunday while in town for her Caution World Tour. . . . “Independence Day” actress Vivica A. Fox and Tasha “The Whole Ten Yards” Smith at Hugo’s Frog Bar on Rush St. recently. . . . Saturday’s birthdays: Blake Griffin, 30; Victor Garber, 70; and Curtis Granderson, 38. . . . Sunday’s birthdays: Kurt Russell, 68; Nicky Jam, 38; Rob Lowe, 55 and a happy belated birthday to Joseph G. Bisceglia, 70.