There’s so much you can do with 19 minutes
R. Kelly is no stranger to annoyingly long songs, whether that’s in the form of a 33-part series (sorry, ‘opera’) about being trapped in a closet, or his new 19-minute offering ”I Admit”, which he released yesterday on what he describes as “the day you’ve been waiting for”. OK, then.
The track is a response to last year’s allegations that the musician is holding multiple women in a ‘sex cult’, and comes shortly after Spotify removed ‘hateful’ Kelly from its playlists following a determined #MuteRKelly campaign.
In the name of this article I spent 19 minutes at my desk listening to R. Kelly admit “mistakes” that include being bad at school, not going to church, and sleeping with his girlfriend’s best friend. 19 minutes of R. Kelly suggesting being called a pedophile is someone’s “opinion”, labelling social media “the devil in disguise”, and declaring that only God can mute him.
I did this so you don’t have to, and I can confirm that you too – as well as God – can mute R. Kelly! Did you do it? Great, now you have an extra 19 minutes to enjoy a whole host of things. Here’s a few suggestions.
READ THIS INTERVIEW ABOUT KELLY’S HISTORY OF CRIMES
“The saddest fact I’ve learned is nobody matters less to our society than young black women. Nobody.”
Journalist Jim DeRogatis has been single-handedly investigating accusations against R. Kelly for almost 20 years. Since receiving two videos of the R&B star engaging in sexual acts with underage girls, DeRogatis has been one of the only journalists to not only acknowledge the women making allegations, but actually report on their claims. In this interview, DeRogatis discusses the charges against R. Kelly, how he became involved in the scandal, and his confusion as to why no one else seemed to be reporting on it.
THEN READ THIS INVESTIGATION INTO HIS ‘SEX CULT’
The story of R. Kelly’s abusive cult was first broken by BuzzFeed News in July 2017. Jim DeRogatis – from above – speaks to parents who claim their daughters are being held against their will at Kelly’s homes in Atlanta and Chicago, while three former members of the musician’s entourage confirm the accusations. DeRogatis details how the women were introduced to Kelly under the guise of furthering their music career, and how they’re now being controlled by the artist who dictates “what they eat, how they dress, when they bathe, when they sleep, and how they engage in sexual encounters that he records.”
WATCH THIS DOCUMENTARY
OK, this one is longer than 19 minutes, but that’s okay because you owe me for having to listen to that song. In March, filmmaker Ben Zand released his documentary R. Kelly: Sex, Girls and Videotapes, following a dark trail of allegations against the R&B star dating back to the 90s. The 55-minute documentary looks at how Kelly has dodged multiple cases against him, and focuses on the recent ‘sex cult’ accusations, with Zand speaking to the musician’s ex-girlfriends who he called his ‘pets’.
Watching the women who’ve suffered at the hands of R. Kelly be given a platform to speak is much more important than listening to him complain about his name being dragged through the dirt for almost half an hour.
SUPPORT WOMEN’S ART
That’s enough reading about R. Kelly. Instead, turn your attention to some of the female artists doing incredible things (that definitely won’t waste 19 minutes of valuable work time). Photographer Daisy Walker is one of these women – a survivor of rape, Walker donated all the proceeds of her recent series of nudes, Solace, to London charity Solace Women’s Aid, reminding survivors they are never alone.
After detailing her harrowing experience of sexual assault at the hands of her former Crystal Castles bandmate in October last year, Alice Glass released powerful track “Cease and Desist” which she described as a “call to arms for all survivors”. Since its release, she’s won her court case against Ethan Kath and continued to speak out about emotional and sexual abuse.
And of course Kesha released her third album Rainbow in August 2017 after a four-year hiatus in which she was was locked in a lawsuit with her former producer and collaborator Dr. Luke after accusing him of sexual assault. Her triumphant return is a powerfully defiant stand against all abusers.
There are countless more, and I wish I could name them all, but I can’t because of a certain 19 minutes I’ll never get back.
DONATE TO WOMEN’S CHARITIES
Violence against women is an all too common and, sadly, accepted occurrence across the world. There are a huge number of incredible women’s charities working with survivors of abuse that need your support, whether you take a few minutes to make a donation, set up a fundraising event, or become a volunteer. Check out a few suggestions below.
LITERALLY ANYTHING ELSE
I can promise you that literally doing anything else is better than wasting those precious 19 minutes. Cook a meal, call your mum, make a start on that novel you’ve been talking about for months; clean your fish tank, watch a YouTube tutorial about fidget spinner tricks for beginners, watch some of a Louis Theroux documentary then tell all your friends about it assertively as if you watched the whole thing. Do anything, but don’t give R. Kelly your ears.