TERRAN WARDEN, A&E Columnist
The controversial R&B star broke into the music scene in 1992, and by 1993 had his first solo album, “12 Play.” And if you are anything like me, you grew up on R. Kelly – and didn’t even know it!
Ever heard “I Believe I Can Fly?”
And although he is known as a “controversial” star – literally the first thing that shows up in a Google search is “Controversial R&B Star” — you have to hand it to him: he can really sing!
And I’m not just saying that! Before 4 p.m. Saturday, my best friend and I left my house – styled to the max for R Kelly live in concert!
After driving all the way to Everett for the show at the Xfinity Arena and standing at the gate for 3 hours hoping to catch the King of R&B on his way in, we entered the arena through a classic Seattle downpour.
Not only did we dress in the wrong style, it looked like we showed up at the wrong show. Everyone was dressed in “their Sunday’s best” as the host of the night put it while I was in an oversized flannel and crop top, and safe to say out of the few thousand attendees, we were the only ones there under 25!
But nonetheless, we had an amazing time seated in the eighth row in the stands!
After DJ Funk Daddy opened the show by DJ’ing the entrance and the intermission – yeah the opening acts needed an intermission – followed by a upcoming R&B singer named JC (or maybe it was Jay C, nobody ever told us) – followed by an amazing upcoming R&B singer Adrian Marcel – followed by the full comedy show by the host.
When it finally came time for R. Kelly – he did not disappoint! The wait was worth it! Not only did he have amazing fashion – at one point wearing a full length Swarovski encrusted Versace bathrobe – but he put on a show!
His live vocals were just as good, if not better, than when he debuted at 25 years old (he is now 48 years old), and he did everything for his fans! Yeah some of the songs were ridiculous (“Cookie” from the new “Black Panties” album) but he truly loves his fans!
At one point, after showing an interlude film of him talking about what he would do for his fans, R. Kelly arrives in a new outfit and sang “I Believe I Can Fly” in the audience on the floor of the arena! (Where I touched him when he ran by from the stands)
And unlike a lot of R&B stars who sing about getting girls, and being in the club, and having sex – R. Kelly doesn’t fake it! Girls were rubbing his groin area every time he got close enough in the front row and in honor of the “Black Panties” tour he even threw out black Victoria’s Secret panties to the girls in the front!
Yeah he was married to a 15 year-old Aaliyah, when he was 10 years older or more than her. Yeah he has had sex tapes with underage girls leaked. And yeah videos of him peeing on a chick leaked.
But R. Kelly isn’t the only controversial artist around.
What about Terry Richardson? The world renowned photographer makes tampon tea with used tampons from models and rapes girls during nude photo shoots but nobody bats an eye.
What about Ozzy Osbourne? He bites the heads off of animals in business meetings and in concert!
What about Eminem? One of the most well-known and successful rappers around – he has the most homophobic lyrics I’ve ever heard, lyrics about assaulting Lana Del Rey, and lyrics about raping Iggy Azealia!
Nobody likes to mention those artists, but is quick to bring up R. Kelly’s past sexual misconduct – but at least he never killed animals on stage!
I’m not saying I condone sex with minors or anything but I’m standing up for someone who can actually sing, and sing live that “American sweetheart” singers like Katy Perry can’t do.
So you know what – as the lyrics of my favorite song with R. Kelly go – “write what you want, say what you want” R. Kelly has the talent and “if you’re wondering know that I’m not sorry” (from Do What U Want with Lady Gaga). Never thought I would consider myself a “Kells” fan as they call him but I think you should be too!
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