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Believing You Can Fly at Age 15

I did the ol’ shuffle thing on iTunes today and a song I haven’t listened to in a long, long time came up: Straight No Chaser’s cover of that R. Kelly song “I Believe I Can Fly.” It reminded me of the semi-infamous second debate in my public speaking class last semester, after the extremely infamous first debate got so out of hand that it was canceled and we started from scratch with a completely new topic.

The new topic: Should radio stations stop playing R. Kelly’s music in light of allegations of many, many, many counts of statutory rape, including one videotaped and several verified accounts from purported “victims?” (I don’t really believe any of these girls were guilty of statutory rape; they knew exactly what they were doing. They just wanted to screw a hunka-hunka-celebrity manbeef, and he didn’t have any particular aversion or moral qualms with the idea of screwing underage girls. Hooray—everyone’s wrong!) It was a good topic, I thought, as it had been in the news for several days and Kelly is a local celebrity. Based on the actual question posed for the debate, which concerned radio stations not playing his music because of allegations, I decided to join the team that was against radio stations doing this.

I don’t like R. Kelly’s music, and he is guilty (of that I am certain), but in theory, we live in a society in which people are innocent until proven guilty. Granted, this theory does not necessarily translate in practice, especially when the accused is a celebrity and the news media has nothing better to do than speculate on his guilt or innocence, and it’s always juicier to focus on the guilt. That’s beside the point, though. The point is that it’s improper for a radio station to quit playing his music simply because he was accused of a crime. If he went to jail, hell yeah, take him off the air. He has no place earning residuals or selling albums from a prison cell. And even if they took him off the air on the grounds of, “Hey, he’s controversial, and we’re losing listeners—that is bad medicine,” but they shouldn’t have done it simply because oh my, he’s all for family values, but here he is supposedly assblasting some 15-year-old “dancer” on video.

So the groups divided and planned debate strategies. Granted, this is Columbia College in Chicago’s beautifully grimy South Loop, so there wasn’t really enough combined brainpower in either group to screw in a light bulb, but we tried anyway. But the problem with both groups’ strategies was that they were woefully offtopic. The people in our group kept insisting that he’s innocent—there’s no way he did it!—with a list of reasons proving said innocence that bordered on farce. As soon as the first shrill girl stood up and said, “I saw that video on the Internet, and there ain’t no way he’s dumb enough to look right at the camera if he’s videotaping it,” I decided to just not speak during the course of the debate.

The opposing viewpoint was no better: mostly, they concentrated on the fact that R. Kelly’s music sucked. “Yeah, he should be taken off the radio,” they said (and here I’m paraphrasing for the sake of coherency), “because his albums suck. He sucks. He is like crap. Ban him because he sucks, not because he rapes little girls.”

Shortly after the first guy stood up and said, flat out, that R. Kelly sucks, the debate broke down. Not that there was ever much structure to begin with, but it went from a semi-formal debate into a scene from Billy Jack: a bunch of incoherent potheads with nonsense arguments trying to shout down a bunch of misinformed fans with a heavy slant toward fictional innocence.

Don, the professor, was baffled. He tried a few times to settle down the riled group, to no avail. I did not take part, and a few others also abstained. We all sort of looked from one person to another for reassurance. I could read in the others’ eyes that they were glad that at least a few semi-sane people were in the class. Finally, I looked over at Don, who looked at me with a longing that I would have assumed was lust if I hadn’t been so sure at the time that he wanted me to just stand up and shut the class the hell up. Don liked me because I was the only person in the class articulate enough to bore the class with the proceedings of the Microsoft antitrust case while somehow entertaining the three smart kids in the class (and Don himself).

And all that with no outline!

So I stood up and started talking. In high school, one of the things I learned was how to be fucking loud. So I was fucking loud, louder than any of the screeching R. Kelly fans or whiny, unbathed emo kids (no offense, Jeff), when I said, “R. Kelly is guilty.”

This was enough to shut everyone up. They all looked at me. The people on my team were dumbfounded—how could I turn on them like this? The people on the other side were equally dumbfounded—why was I so brazenly chastising the man I was supposed to support? One of the smart kids, a granola-eating, hemp-loving (but, for once, not because of the nauseating amount of pot she smokes!) girl named Sarah, smiled. I didn’t like her very much, even though she was smart, but at that second, I contemplated jumping over a row of desks, pinning her to the ground, and making wild, passionate love to her. Something about that smile and those emo glasses and the stylish black hair. Then again, I have similar fantasies about many other women at least 20 times a day, so maybe this instance wasn’t special enough to document…

I continued to speak, and said something like this: “R. Kelly is guilty, of that I am certain. I don’t think he should go to jail or pay a big fine or become a horrible blight on society. I firmly believe that the girls he had sex with were not coerced in any way—in fact, I believe they coerced him, not the other way around. But that is beside the point.

“Also, I hate R. Kelly’s music. I can’t stand any it. If I hear one of his songs on the radio, I change the station. The sound of his voice makes me want to plow into oncoming traffic, and I think it should be avoided at all costs. But that, too, is beside the point.

“The reason for this debate was to discuss whether or not radio stations should stop playing his music solely because of these allegations. They shouldn’t. It is unfair to him, his record label, and the American public, in the off-chance that he is somehow found not guilty and can put this whole thing behind him. But this debate is not about his merits as a quote-unquote ‘musician’ or whether or not these videos were doctored like the Zapruder film or faked like the moon landing. So if you guys can’t stick to the topic and have a civilized debate, why are we even taking this class? Other than to fulfill the requirement?”

Of course, I’m nowhere near this articulate, so just imagine the above with many more pauses and “ums” and stammers as I attempt to scan my brain and find the words I’m looking for.

But that thing about the Zapruder film or the faked moon landing—that was the money shot. I had the whole thing planned around that as I sat and listened to them all bitch. That was probably the only part that I didn’t stammer on.

Nobody applauded or anything. I just sat back down, and everybody was silenced. I wasn’t grandstanding or anything. Really, the only thing I wanted was for them to shut the fuck up. And to tell my conspiracy theory joke, which only Don and Sarah and Mike got.

In retrospect, this story isn’t nearly as entertaining as I thought it’d be. But it sure as hell is long, so I’m gonna post it anyway.

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34 Comments

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  • Please, I am in search of Robert Kelly’s email address. I will be very grateful if you will do me the favour to send it by email.

    Thanks

    Eric

    Cameroon Africa

    Foncham Elvis 16 years ago Reply Link


  • R. Kelly is a classic example of the stereotype of what used to be referred to as “new money”. He wants to talk like an uneducated boob and be famous. To some people who don’t think much, but just buy anything done by black people to try to be cool, his stupidity might fly right past. The black people I know are tired of people like him. He actually tells the public that he is trying to be an example to young black children. It seems he is more interested in sleeping with them instead.

    His music sucks to begin with. He thinks saying things like, “I’m about to stick my key in your ignition”, is a cool line. OH! Won’t you ladies just swoon over a direct line about someone’s sexual member. And by the way, Robert, the word is “twenty four”, not “twenty fo”… you can’t just make up words or sounds to rhyme and expect anyone with half a brain to think you know how to write lyrics. As to whether he should be boycotted for his statutory rape charges, I would say no, not until they are convictions. I think he should be boycotted for being a moron with no taste who thinks women are going to drop at his feet because he is a black man who can afford a good barber and has some money.

    Arizona Mildman 16 years ago Reply Link


  • Hi kelly,

    I’am in love with your music and i tell you what? people are jelouse of you and your music becouse you are the world greatest.They bring false allegation just to track you down and make the world to hate you and your music but i tell you what?they lie becouse they can not convince me and my friends.And no matter what it will take, you are still my favourite artist.

    “CHEERS”

    kyeli 15 years ago Reply Link


  • Am in serch of r-kelly’s email address. Please send it to me by emailing me

    kyeli 15 years ago Reply Link


  • please, can u send me r.kelly email address? if u do get it can u please send it to me

    sheequia 15 years ago Reply Link


  • please be kind to send me rkelly’s email. iwill be grate ful to you. i am dying to talk to him please do this for me and god will bless you

    sandra 15 years ago Reply Link


  • I am one of your biggest fans and I really need your E-mail address ASAP. Chao!

    Freddy Pika 15 years ago Reply Link


  • Hey o,

    Mr World greatest, they can’t trap u down, & they can stand u, well press 4ward d sky is your limit, u’ll shine than them, pls send me your email address ok. oluwaseun ladeloye, Nigeria

    ladeloye 15 years ago Reply Link


  • I am a true fan of Rkelly. And would like for anyone who knows his email address to please send it to me. Thank you

    donna. 15 years ago Reply Link


  • i love the ignitor

    nzekwe arinze 15 years ago Reply Link


  • Hello R. Kelly how are you doing? Well, I am not going to beat around the bush, this is in response to your statement you made on the Soul Train Music Awards regarding any of your fans needing a loan. Well I am here to take you up on that statement. I am in the process of opening up a restaurant in the Sacramentom, CA area and I have become short on cash, I was wondering if there is any kind of way that you can help your BIGGEST FAN pursue her dreams? Please stand by my side like I stood by yours (lost my job arguing with my boss about things they were saying about you). I have a catering business I am trying to market now but would love to open up my own restaurant. Please respond to me at leetahs2003@yahoo.com

    CHRISTINA 15 years ago Reply Link


  • I am R.Kelly’s biggest fan and I will never give up on him.Please send me his e-mail address so that I can personally thank him for his beautiful and extremely creative music.

    monica 15 years ago Reply Link


  • HI R Kelly,

    I’m in love with you and your Music i don’t care what people say about you,Anyway i’m not going to beat around the brush i will just cum to de point.

    Robert i think about you day and night i just hope one day the Lord God will make me see you and touch you or ever sing with you. No matter what it will take you’re sitt my lover artist in the world, Robert you’re in my mind and soul and i will always love you. let the Lord God blessed u and your friends also. Cioa amore de Abie

    abie koromah 15 years ago Reply Link


  • HI R Kelly,

    I’m in love with you and your Music i don’t care what people say about you,Anyway i’m not going to beat around the brush i will just cum to de point.

    Robert i think about you day and night i just hope one day the Lord God will make me see you and touch you or ever sing with you. No matter what it will take you’re sitt my lover artist in the world, Robert you’re in my mind and soul and i will always love you. let the Lord God blessed u and your friends also. Cioa amore de Abie.pls can you send me R Kelly email address, bcoz I’m drying 4 him so much. Cheers

    abie koromah 15 years ago Reply Link


  • Hey Kelly,

    I need your help man, I’ve turned to you coz your my inspiration, my model and my hero. I don’t care what they say about you, you are still my hero, I don’t care if they scorn me as i am depicting my true name and identity here. All I know is you are my true brother who can help me.Right now Kelly, I need your help, please help me in anyway you can, my daddy died recently and my mum is so poor she is looking at me all the time, I feel so bitter man, I have tried everything to save our life but nothing has worked, I have even turned to Jesus, I pray for any miracle to happen, I’m desparate man. I need just a little cash to help my poor mama and pursue my dreams. please help your lil brother! I am proud of u man, I like the way you sing and dance in the new video “step in the name of love”.

    Dennis Peter 15 years ago Reply Link


  • I’m sorry Kelly I forgot to give you my contact details, my phone no: +441908393977 my email address: denisbpp2000@yahoo.com Kelly man I know how hard it is for you to get back to me as you are probably so busy writing another song or preparing yourself with another great video project, but yet I’m not gonna give up hope of hearing from you, please help me man as I have no one else to turn to, thanx brother and I’ma pray for you all the time.

    Dennis Peter 15 years ago Reply Link


  • hi my name is ariana wright and i am 9 years old.i have been skating for 2 years and have succeded to win natoinals two years in a row.i have finaly got a sponsor but only temporary . i love r kelly. i wish that i could get his e-mail so i can ask the greatest artist in the world if he could help me out in my skating carrear. if u think u can help me out please e-mail me asap. ariana wright

    ariana 15 years ago Reply Link


  • Hi kelly

    i know i’m one of your good fans.So please all i want from you is to send me your a copy of your present albulm,be it in audio cd or video cd.

    femi oseni 15 years ago Reply Link


  • pls try to send r-kelly email address to me on insightseun@yahoo.com, thanx alot, TP-2 U’RE 2 MUCH

    OLUWASEUN 15 years ago Reply Link


  • Hello,

    If someone out there knows rkelly. Tell him if he ever come to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to look me up, so we can go to Higher Dimension Church, Pastor Carlton Pearson together. Rkelly you are awesome. Yes I am legal. I am over 25, single parent and a graduate student.

    Thanks,

    Marcy

    My email is mfendi579@aol.com

    Marcy 15 years ago Reply Link


  • Please send me R-Kelly’s e-mail address ASAP. I would be truly gracious if you could be so kind. Kelly never had a fan like me in his life. I’m absolutely crazy about the man and his music.

    Tumisang 15 years ago Reply Link


  • R. Kelly I really love all of your music,and for all of you that have something to say about him,let him that is without sin cast the first;we all have skeletons in our closets that we do not want to e revealed to the world. In Gods eyes sin is sin no matter how small we may think they are, so stop hating on this man because of his short comings;Kelly take it all to God and will help you make it throug the stroms made by man. If God be for you who can be against you?

    sabrina 15 years ago Reply Link


  • R. Kelly I really love all of your music and the things that you write about,and for all of you that have something to say about him;let him that is without sin cast the first stone;we all have skeletons in our closets that we do not want to be revealed to the world. In Gods eyes sin is sin no matter how small we may think ours are compared to his, so stop hating on this man because of his short comings;Kelly take it all to God and will help you make it throug the stroms made by man. If God be for you who can be against you? If possible e-mail me back.

    sabrina 15 years ago Reply Link


  • Could someone please give me rkelly’s e-mail address? My e-mail address is mandamurphy@msn.com

    Thanks!

    Amanda 15 years ago Reply Link


  • Could someone please give me rkelly’s e-mail address? My e-mail address is mandamurphy@msn.com

    Thanks!

    Amanda 15 years ago Reply Link


  • hello kelly i luv you infact i luv everything about you .you where created to me mi happy,each time i play your music i feel complete inside of me. i luv you kelly no matter what people say in other to water down my luv for you, i tell you what?

    it won’t work out cause i admire you, cherish you, infact it feels good to you exist . i luv you.pls i need your mail address to have a private talk or chat relationship with you kelly.

    still chuddysaint.

    chuddy 12 years ago Reply Link


  • hi Kelly

    this is a fan.i know what people say about u but man,never mind.i personally like u for u have helped me without knowin.i started singing and as a matter of fact even won awards with some R and B tracks all under students entertainment.because of u ihave lot of songs which iwill like to give some out.they are really good and since u put the spirit in me must give them back to u.how do ido that?i need ur email address.mine is samjie@yahoo.com.ineed ur email.u will not be disappointed when u hear the songs.Thanx for ue help

    Samuel Anang 11 years ago Reply Link


  • Could someone send to me an email adress of r. kelly please? My email adress is rutechura2005@yahoo.com

    Frolence Rutechura 11 years ago Reply Link


  • Dear R.Kelly, I am a huge fan of yours I’ve got all your albums, I love your voice and you’re still looking as good as ever. I am 29 years of age and I live in the Louisville, Kentucky area, I like to know if you had any advice for me about starting my singing career cause I’m sure getting tired of singing in the karaoke bars getting paid under the table and not only am I trying to make it the music business for the money I also know that I have the talent to make it to the top, so if you get this please send me some advise and also when I go to sleep at night I think of you and I have you picture on my desktop a sexy picture at that. Love, your#1 fan

    Artensley Brown 11 years ago Reply Link


  • Halo Kelly,

    Been your fan for a very long time now, i really can understand what ya going through now, mite not have been there but its sure not easy. Just do what you know how to do best, knwoing fully well that you’re an inspiration to eople like me. i look forward to a day i’ll see you and tell you how i feel. i’m also a song minister, a choir co-ordinator, comming up with an album latter on this year. its okay brotherman, i believe in you so much. i’ll talk to you some other time. Bye and tanx for everything.

    Bodeola

    (you can also call me Bodmax)

    Bodeola 11 years ago Reply Link


  • Hi Kelly

    comliment of the season. Am a brother in Africa Nigeria precisely, i love seeing you in any Nigerian seasonal show and also love staying with you.

    Yours Afri-brow Henrysmith.

    HENRYSMITH 11 years ago Reply Link


  • hi R kelly…. If by any chance you read this, dawg I just wanna say no matter what people say, you rock the world. I am Isaac but my friends call me Youngkells’. I believe that I am gonna just as big and famous and you, though the history that you make is impossible to repeat but I’ll try. kells plz send me your personal Email address… and Oh I live in South Africa and I am 18 years old. hala.

    Isaac More 11 years ago Reply Link


  • Guys u cant understand how this man makes me feel. Even if I were to explain I dont think anyone can understand. I’m not throwing my self to him or anything like that. I’m just declaring the affection. Damn! Hey I have almsot everthing of his, his dvd’s cd’s, I visit his web all most every day. Believeit when I see him I get turned on instantly. I understand he is a capricon, well I’m also one and I once dated a guy that’s is one and I tell you capricons love sex, I’ll tell you that right now. I know its a bit impossible for me to meet with him, I just want him to email me, I sure will enjoy playing with him on over mails. Please Kells, I know you going through one of your toughiest times but I sure can cheer you up. Halla.

    Sabrina 11 years ago Reply Link


  • R KELLY I LUV U SO MUCH THANK GOD FOR U.DONT LET CIA GET U DOWN.TRUTHS GET OUT NOW U R INOCENT.GOLDEN SHOWERS R NOT CRIMES UNLESS U EAT ASPAREGUSS BEFORE.U R SO INOCENT THAT IT OFICIALLY ILEGAL 2 PUT GUILTY NEXT 2 YOUR NAME.EVEN IF IT SAY NOT GUILTY.I WUZ SO HAPPY AFTER VERDICT BUT THEN NEWZ SAY MY FAV NEWZ MAN TIM RUSSERTT DIE ON VERY SAME DAY.I BELEIVE HE FLY.STRAIGT 2 GOD.KEEP FLYIN R KELLY.I KNOW TIM RUSSERTT FLY WITH U 2.

    Shaneequeenia 10 years ago Reply Link


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