I wasn’t sure how to feel about the fact that R. Kelly was once married to Aaliyah for a hot minute, and that he may or may not have “micturated upon” a teenage girl back when Backstreet Boys was still popping, so I was happy to see that there’s a special six-part series about him on Lifetime, where I get my movies.
In addition to clarifying my thoughts on Arruh, and hence where he falls in the heated, important King of R&B debate, I suspect that this will also be an excellent opportunity for me to enhance my personal brand by publicly declaring that I’m officially against various forms of sexual assault.
No but really, I’m at a loss for how they came up with six hours of programming based on Arruh’s alleged proclivities, and I’m half tempted to have a look. If only I had cable. I could probably pull it up on a Lifetime Roku app, but those deep-cable Roku apps serve you more ads than the actual TV channel, and I’m more against ads than I am statutory rape.
My parents didn’t pay all that money for cable just for me to be watching commercials. The fact that I’m unemployed right now, and therefore my time quite literally has no value, is neither here nor there.
The thing is, we already know the story. I can’t imagine that there’s anyone who would watch a movie on Lifetime who doesn’t recall when the Arruh-Aaliyah marriage certificate ran in Vibe. Who amongst us didn’t gather in the dorm room of some guy who downloaded the infamous pee tape from Kazaa? When the now defunct Village Voice trotted out this hoary chestnut five years ago, it wasn’t that people weren’t aware of the pee tape; it was the media periodically rediscovering the evergreen nature of talking bad about prominent black men. Maybe a month later, Gawker would rehash mid-‘00s-era date-rape allegations against The Cos, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Before the first installments of Surviving R. Kelly (heh) aired last night, I saw people on Twitter prematurely celebrating Arruh having been removed from the paint, as if this would be the thing that gets him banned from the entertainment industry once and for all. It’s not clear to me what that even means, at a time when Arruh is like 56 years old and hasn’t had a real hit in a good 10 years. His career is falling off because he’s as old as dirt, not because people don’t approve of his lifestyle anymore. Admit it, you have no idea what Joe Public is up to right now.
One thing we can be sure of is that Arruh’s label is not about to voluntarily divest itself from its stake in his catalog. He’s signed to Sony Music, a huge corporation than could probably survive without the rights to his music. If they really cared about a black female child’s right to not be used as a porta potty, they could sign those rights back over to Arruh, free of charge. Arruh could then upload his music directly to Spotify, which, thanks to Pulitzer Prize winner Kendrick Lamar, has no “hateful conduct” policy, and probably make more money than he would signed to a label.
I’m assuming that Surviving R. Kelly doesn’t consist of six hours of footage of dream hampton standing outside the Sony Music building with a bullhorn as if she were Michael Moore, or Lupe Fiasco, demanding the return of Arruh’s publishing, and if that’s the case, I’m not sure what purpose it serves. We already know why the wood in Arruh’s sauna has a citrus-y aroma. We also know that, to paraphrase Ike Turner, he’s since given up peeing on teenage girls. Recent articles in Buzzfeed and Rolling Stone didn’t turn up a single shred of evidence of illegality. His current girlfriends are all of age, and they insist that they’re not being held against their will. What ever happened to believe all women?
Having said all that, I’d like to take this opportunity to reiterate that I’m officially against sexual assault, regardless of the girl’s age, and to point out that, unlike Questlove, Jay-Z and Erykah Badu, I would have been more than happy to appear in Surviving R. Kelly. In a sense, I already did contribute to Lifetime’s Michel'le movie, and I didn’t even show up to their offices demanding payment. That one was “on the arm.”
Take it easy on yourself,