Crocodile tears and self-pity.
That’s all we can find in R. Kelly’s latest song.
We read all the lyrics, so you don’t have to, to the singer’s newly released 19-minute opus “I Admit.” And despite that title, we couldn’t find any sign whatsoever of an epiphany on Kelly’s part.
There’s no remorse for the years he spent pursuing underage girls for sex, not a hint of sympathy for the young women he victimized, no introspection or regret that he didn’t get help to change behavior that even his friends described to the Sun-Times back in 2000 as a “compulsion.”
Instead, “I Admit” is rife with self-indulgent excuses on Kelly’s part. He dropped out of school, hasn’t seen his kids in years, lost his career because of lies, is surrounded by backstabbers . . . and greedy sycophants . . . and on and on.
Excuses are what you dole out when you’re trying to keep the few fans you’ve got left.
Make no mistake, Kelly’s staunchest fans — black Chicagoans who cheered the hometown kid’s rise to superstardom — have deserted him in droves. They finally couldn’t stomach all the allegations of sexual abuse of young girls, much of it reported first by the Sun-Times, that kept piling up around the self-proclaimed “Pied Piper of R&B.”
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, even for a hometown kid.
Kelly might have found some absolution, but not if he can’t, or won’t, cop to what really happened.
“I admit I done made some mistakes/And I have some imperfect ways . . .” doesn’t come anywhere close.
It was way beyond “mistakes” for Kelly to cruise the hallways of his former high school, looking for teenage girls with stars in their eyes whom he could lure with promises of help breaking into the music business. And we sure aren’t going to chalk it up to “imperfect ways” when we recall how he settled lawsuit after lawsuit accusing him of abuse. He allegedly videotaped himself performing sex acts with a 14-year-old and took nude photos of himself with another teen.
None of the criminal charges against Kelly stuck. But if Kelly were a responsible adult, he would accept culpability for any harm he caused and, at minimum, offer an apology.
Instead, he gives us hubris and victim-blaming, a classic technique for abusers:
“I ain’t chasing these ladies, no/These ladies are chasing me, yeah . . .”
Kelly still isn’t ready to look in the mirror. It’s like he forgot how he used to send his assistants into the audience to pimp for him at his concerts, to press slips of paper with his phone number into the hand of young, starstruck girls.
“But tell me how they call it pedophile because that s— is crazy . . .”
They call it that, Robert, when you’re a grown man targeting high schoolers. Like the 15-year-old who told Dallas police not long ago that you, now 51, gave her drugs, alcohol and a sexually-transmitted disease.
“Women show black men some love/’Cause black men we go through enough . . . /They don’t want me to shine, women’s group, my god . . .”
In Kelly’s twisted mind, black women should turn a blind eye to their own abuse. But the #MuteRKelly campaign, led by black women, decided #TimesUp for that. After all, it’s black girls and young black women who were Kelly’s victims. The #MeToo movement is for all women.
It’s too bad Kelly doesn’t have a brutally honest producer in his entourage. Someone willing to stand up to him could have stopped the “I Admit” train wreck before it left the station.
As one young man suggested on social media, “Someone shoulda told him, “Nah, chief, this ain’t it.”
“I’m tired the fingers pointed at me/I’m tired of all this weight on me,” Kelly sings.
The fingers are pointed in the right direction, Robert.
If you can’t come clean about your past, maybe you should take your own advice:
“I admit that I just feel like retiring.”
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