R.KELLY FREE LIKE A BIRD!
Promoters seeking to bring R&B wizard Robert Kelly to Nigeria can now begin trying again.
The 41 year-old singer who’s been standing trial for a sex-related offence sincee 2002 was finally let off the hook when a new jury, sitting in Chicago, discharged and acquitted him last week.
R.Kelly was first slammed with Child Pornography charges in 2002, after sources leaked a video tape allegedly showing him having a romp with an underage girl. Kelly denied being the one in the tape, but the prosecution could not make any headway after the presiding judge had a terrible accident, and Kelly himself had to undergo an appendix operation.
The victim, now 23, was believed to be about 13 years old as at the time of the recording. Both she and Kelly denied being the ones in the tape.
But Kelly, who’s been turning out raunchy ballads all his life (and occasional gospel influenced classics like ‘I believe I can fly) was already deemed guilty by conservatives, most of whom had earlier accused him of dating Aaliyah (his late Protegee) while she was still underage.
Although he couldn’t travel throughout the duration of the trial, he continued to turn out hits after hits, staying calm and appearing undisturbed over the embarrassing trial.
From his known lifestyle, his lyrics and a couple of unrepentant witnesses, many believe Kelly may have committed the crime.
But the jury of 12 did not think so. And, on Friday June 13 after establishing that the ‘man’ in the tape did not have a mole on his back (R.Kelly does), they freed him of all 14 charges, leaving him to go and continue his business as usual.
Kelly’s freedom, coming on the heels of Michael Jackson’s acquittal (Michael, a popstar and suspected paedophile was found ‘not guilty’ of child abuse charges in 2006, after a prosecution that attracted fierce media coverage), has got observers divided in thier opinions. While some believe the judgements were nothing but ‘slap’ on the emotions of the public, and a ‘shame’ on the integrity of the judiciary, citing other cases like OJ Simpsons’, other simply opine that the ‘black brothers’ were ‘nothing but victims of systemic racism targeted at blacks who have reached levels of successes the American establishment is ‘uncomfortable with.
Now no longer ‘trapped in thee closet’, Kelly is expected to begin taking his art around the world; and with loads of offers already on the table from Nigerian promoters, it will not be surprising if the country is one of his first point of call. But first, he will release a new album in a few weeks.
And then, because he has a serious phobia for fyling, it will be a herculean task getting him to come down to Africa.