R. Kelly

It’s On Them: The Grammys Need to Practice What They Preach About Domestic and Sexual Violence

Following last year’s mass gay marriage, the Grammys got political again during last night’s ceremony. Beyoncé, Common, and John Legend honored Selma and all that the film represents, while Prince shouted out “Black Lives Matter” from the stage. Sam Smith thanked the man who inspired all his love songs, in the process acknowledging his sexual orientation in pop’s most public arena. Most pointedly, Katy Perry, President Obama, and activist Brooke Axtell presented a three-part PSA and performance against domestic violence and sexual assault. It was a touching gesture, but with Chris Brown, R. Kelly, and Eminem all up for (and, in some cases, winning) awards last night, it also felt disingenuous coming from an Academy — and an industry — that continues to support real assailants. … Read More

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From Woody Allen to Bill Cosby, Can We Hear Survivors and Still Honor Legacies?

Phylicia Rashad is saying that she has been misquoted, that she never said — as was widely reported — “forget those women” when speaking about her TV husband Bill Cosby’s long (and growing) list of accusers.

Instead, she clarifies by saying basically the same thing, with a different emphasis. She wants people to consider the man’s cultural legacy, and not see it ruined. “He’s a genius. He is generous. He’s kind. He’s inclusive,” she explained on an ABC interview. “What I said is, ‘This is not about the women.‘ This is about something else. This is about the obliteration of legacy.’” … Read More

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2014: The Year the Outrage Machine Started Eating the Real World

If you’re inclined to believe #slatepitches, then 2014 was the Year Of Outrage. The Internet’s favorite shrine to contrarianism published an interactive calendar earlier this month wherein one can track, day by day, the things about which we (“we” being liberal American adults on the Internet, basically) were outraged this year. I’m not so sure this year was any different to any other, though: the public has always been fond of being righteously outraged, and for the last few years, at least, the Internet has felt like (and been characterized as) a giant outrage machine. But 2014 did feel like a landmark in one respect: it was the year that the outrage machine proved its power to chew up and spit out people IRL as well as on Twitter or Tumblr. It was a year in which the precipitous fall taken by Bill Cosby, in particular, proved that it’s much, much harder for stars to bury unflattering narratives these days. But the ever-growing power of the angry mob also has pretty terrifying implications if you take an old-fashioned view of what constitutes justice. … Read More

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Lifetime’s Disastrous ‘Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B’ Paints Her Teen Marriage to R. Kelly as a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ Story

During the past year or so, Lifetime’s reputation has changed. Once a network that aired unintentionally funny made-for-TV movies about tragic (but ultimately triumphant!) women and the men who wronged them, it has become a network that now regularly releases weak, pseudo-controversial, and above all, too-awful-for-words biopics about celebrities: the unfathomably bad Liz and Dick, the sleepy and boring Unauthorized Saved By the Bell Story, and the utterly shameless The Brittany Murphy Story. The network’s latest mistake is Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B, another horrendous mess to throw on top of Lifetime’s growing pile of crap. … Read More

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Nobody Asked Sky Ferreira If She Was OK With Terry Richardson (But Now We Know She Is)

Sky Ferreira is what you’d call an “epic” Facebook user. The lengthy, uncensored explanations she posts there routinely make headlines, in part because she’s typically responding to an accusation made by the media. This time, Sky defends Terry Richardson, the alleged sex abuser of young models/photographer who’s worked with Ferreira since she was 17 with nary an incident of inappropriate behavior. She focuses on her experiences with Richardson, careful not to demean the experiences of other women. … Read More

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Aaliyah Biopic Will Detail Her Marriage to R. Kelly

In the upcoming Lifetime biopic of Aaliyah, the young R&B star’s short-lived and controversial marriage to R. Kelly —… Read More

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How the Hell Did Lady Gaga Think Her ‘Do What U Want’ Video Was OK?

By now you’ve likely seen clips from a certain music video that are floating around online. A female pop star is lying down on an operating table, presumably naked under a white sheet. Her doctor, looking as club-ready as a surgeon gets, reaches under the sheet. She moans at his touch, and he notes that the medicine must be kicking in. Soon she is passed out, at which point a gaggle of women wearing discount-store slutty nurse costumes come into frame. The nurses party around and on top of the unconscious pop star in a most ostentatious manner while the doctor watches. At one point cooked lobsters are waved like puppets amidst her limp limbs, while a tower of shrimp hovers near her exposed breast. Another nurses mounts the singer’s lifeless body and humps her in a cartoon jack-rabbit way, easily a foot separating their genitals. Meanwhile, the singer, seemingly off in a dream, is writhing around in a dress made of tabloid clippings, in a room wallpapered in more press rumors. A photographer is there, shooting her as she poses, eventually in nothing more than loose newspaper pages. At one point she humps the air for little reason at all. … Read More

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One In a Million? Why We’re Still Talking About Aaliyah

Aaliyah made genre-redefining albums in the 1990s and died way too young. She was involved in a controversial marriage, and her breakthrough video was set in a high school gym. Her catalog comprises three studio albums, and new artists can’t wait to assert their cred by covering her songs and name-checking her in interviews. … Read More

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‘White Panties': Why Does R. Kelly Keep Getting Away with It?

If you’re someone who enjoys R. Kelly’s music, you may be excited to learn that he is planning a “sequel” to last year’s album Black Panties, to be entitled, with crushing inevitability, White Panties. If, like me, you are one of those people who wonders exactly who R. Kelly needs to piss on before somebody decides enough is enough, you may find yourself asking something along the lines of, “What the actual fuck?” It’s barely three months since the Village Voice published Jessica Hopper’s interview with Jim DeRogatis, wherein the decades’ worth of allegations of Kelly’s alleged sexual abuse of underage girls were laid out in excruciating detail. Again. And it’s like it never happened. … Read More

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