Surviving R. Kelly – Hell for black women and girls

11 January 2019
Author   Jackie Wilson Asheeke
Social and standard media, community forums and day-to-day conversations are ablaze with responses to the recent television docuseries, Surviving R Kelly aired by the Lifetime Network.  Those who haven’t seen it should do so and prepare to be disgusted by R Kelly. 
With black women and girls being raped, disrespected, abused and murdered like cattle at a Meatco abattoir here in the Land of the Brave, there is a linkage in relevance to R Kelly’s heinous mistreatment of black women and girls. 
This docuseries correctly skewers the I believe I can fly singer, but also calls out the entire ‘machine’ of glitz and glam, fake red carpet lifestyles, a blind billion dollar recording industry, sycophant assistants to the stars, and armies of criminally self-deluded ‘fans’ who cherry pick their morality. 
Namibians must set aside their uber-conservative, over-the-top aversion to cussing and street talk, explicit sexual conservations and automatic hero worship and appreciate this painful story about a talented musical genius who has devil horns and a tail.
A 30-year old man having threesome trysts that include a 14 year old girl and urine as a part of sexual arousal is a vile disgrace regardless of who that adult man is, what race he is, or how much money he has.  This is only a one of the credible stories recounted by the women who lived it.
Unfortunately, on a technical level, the story-telling and timeline logic of the docuseries is confusing in some areas and a couple of plot threads were left incomplete. 
Namibians should brace themselves to be a bit confused at the text of the stories told.  The documentary is designed for an American audience.  Those who are unfamiliar with R Kelly or have no frame of reference for the slang language, innuendos, and quick-talking-street-speak, will miss details. 
We must learn a lesson about ourselves and question why we continue to defend ‘big people’.  The rich and powerful must NOT get a pass when they treat other people like dogs.
To follow some of the social media banter on this issue, check out Corey Townsend, the Social Media Editor @TheRoot.  He says, “Black girls deserve better.
“Decades of R. Kelly’s disturbing acts have finally made it to the forefront, and what he’s done in the dark has yet again made its way to the light…Kelly hid in plain sight, yet many chose to be in denial about his actions because they admire him…but the value of a black girl’s life is far greater than [having] hit records.”
Check out Instagram, #jadapinkettsmith, to read more dialogue about this powerful docuseries.  All seem to agree that if R Kelly’s victims were white women and girls, he’d been bankrupted and jailed decades ago. 
R Kelly got his big break in 1990, when he secured a recording contract with Jive Records. In 1991, he released Born into the 90’s with his backup group Public Announcement featuring Honey Love and Slow Dance.
In 1993, Kelly released his debut solo album, 12 Play, which helped him earn his first No. 1 single, Bump N’ Grind. 
Kelly won three Grammy Awards for his hit song, I Believe I Can Fly which was written and produced for the Space Jam movie soundtrack.
The accused sexual pervert has released 12 solo studio albums, and sold over 75 million albums and singles worldwide, making him the most successful R&B male artist of the 1990s and one of the best-selling music artists of all time.
In addition to creating his own music, Kelly worked with such artists as Gladys Knight, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson, for whom he penned the 1995 chart-topper You Are Not Alone.
He did music with Celine Dion, P Diddy, Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg and Ja Rule, among others.  In 2011, Billboard named him the No. 1 R&B artist of the last 25 years.
According to, Kelly’s net worth has been adjusted from $150 million to just $1 million by the end of 2018. 


The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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