WASHINGTON — Welcome to R. Kelly’s last recording session.
Welcome to the self-immolation of a man certain he’s going to prison.
Like any good artist, he already knew the keys he wanted to hit when he sat down with CBS News’ Gayle King to defend himself -- pre-trial -- against the ten charges of criminal sexual abuse against four women.
He had an idea of how he wanted to perform and just how much he wanted to emotionally give his audience -- the right amount of rhythm, cadence…tears.
In a pre-recorded meltdown, I Believe I Can Fly basically became I Believe I Can Cry.
He knows his leftover loyalists would download his angry denials and play them on a loop. No, this was for the non-believers, the ones hesitant to listen to an alleged pedophile but intrigued enough to click on the link and keep them enraptured. The same one that keeps R. Kelly on message and on brand:
And the brand is this: Robert Sylvester Kelly thinks the louder he screams he’s innocent, the more tears he cries and the more fist-pounds to his heart, the harder it will be for people to believe any young, anonymous woman – or dozens dating back three decades -- over a man self-proclaimed as “The Greatest.”
“I’m that little bit of hope when my back’s against the ropes. I can feel it, I’m the World’s Greatest”
No, Robert, you’re the world’s fakest.
See, what’s sad is the higher we turn up the volume to his delusion, the more we drown out the dozens of women’s realities. He married Aaliyah when she was 15, and he was miraculously found not guilty on child pornography charges in 2008 because a 13-year-old’s mother and brother likely did not have the courage to identify the girl in a sex video in open court after scores of others did come forward, according to the documentary, "Surviving R. Kelly."
And now he wants to scream about his past, as if his brush with real incarceration was a come-to-Jesus moment.
Cruel irony, no, a man going ballistic, literally screaming his “truth,” while an established, professional women sits there calmly, watching the hysterics unfold. R. Kelly used overt emotion, the same kind prominent women are eviscerated for in these exact same circumstances.
Women are told to be calm, cool and collected to be taken seriously, to attain credibility; meantime, the more R. Kelly beats his hollow chest the more we’re supposed to take him seriously. If he’s that angry and upset, goes the backward logic, then he must be keeping it 100.
No, he’s what he’s always been: a born performer. Lower the volume, the bass, all of it. And just hear the words. That’s all they are; no evidence, no receipts, nothing but hollow insistences that he’s not guilty of keeping women against their will, brainwashing them, making them urinate in buckets in their room and forced to cease communication with their direct family.
“How stupid would it be for R. Kelly….” he kept telling us.
This is when Robert wants to be R. Kelly, because R. Kelly couldn’t do anything as awful what all those women are saying.
R. Kelly was a ‘hood rat from the Chicago streets, self-made; hell, you watch the documentary the one thing that stands out are multiple relatives saying he was sexually abused by an adult female relative from the ages of 7 to 15. It’s the one part of the six-part series you feel heart-broken for him, for Robert was just a little boy when it started.
When asked about his abuse by GQ in 2016, Kelly said, “It teaches you definitely to be sexual earlier than you should have, than you’re supposed to. You know, no different than putting a loaded gun in a kid’s hand; he gonna grow up being a shooter probably.”
He later added, “I will definitely forgive them. As I’m older, I look at it and I know that it had to be not just about me and them, but them and somebody older than them when they were younger – and whatever happened to them when they were younger. I looked at it as, I don’t know, a generational curse, so to speak, going down through the family – not just her doing that to me.”
He believed he could break the family’s cycle of pedophilia, but the problem is Robert Sylvester Kelly survived that abuse not his alter ego, R. Kelly.
How stupid could R. Kelly be? It’s not stupidity; it’s denial, arrogance – it’s thou doth protest too much.
Lance Armstrong or Rafael Palmeiro waving their fingers at Congress and their detractors would be a decent analogy. But their constant denial of using performance enhancing drugs before they were found out and admitted the truth involved just the theft of money and fame from others who didn’t take steroids and competed fairly.
R. Kelly is accused of stealing the souls and innocence -- and often the virginity -- of adolescent girls.
At one point during Gayle King’s interview, which felt more like the counseling session of a disturbed patient on a therapist’s couch, he said, “They’re describing Lucifer. I’m not Lucifer.”
Unavailable for comment, the archangel could not neither confirm nor deny.
Look, these are the facts: only about 2 percent of all rape and related sex charges are determined to be false, the same percentage as for other felonies, according to a Stanford group called, “Men Against Abuse Now.”
So to believe R. Kelly, you would have to believe the accounts of dozens of women over three decades and their allies collectively banded together – even though many of them still don’t know each other and have never met – to destroy the reputation and career of a man who penned, “Bad Man,” “Apologies to a Thug” and “The Storm Isn’t Over.”
“There’s real girls out there missing…There’s real young girls, out there bein’ abducted, bein’ raped,” he said, minimizing his own alleged sexual assault, playing the there’s-evil-out-there-worse-than-me card.
About the time he blurted through tears, “I have such a big heart. People betray me and I keep forgivin’ ‘em,” the act was over. He was looking into the camera, not at Gayle King. He was a performer desperate for validation from an audience that saw right through him.
R. Kelly’s last recording session was almost done, the gig up, 21 years after he released, “When a Woman’s Fed Up.”
“You can cry a river till an ocean starts to form – yeah – but she will always remember, because she’s a woman scorned.”
Worse, she may have been a woman that was criminally and sexually abused by Robert Sylvester Kelly.