My favs be so problematic: My Love of R. Kelly versus My Love of Black Women

In this new millennial, neo-liberal progressive, post racial, all politically correct Murica I currently live in, I swear I be treading the waters of a river called Sanctimony. I’ve swallowed enough of it, going under and getting held under enough times to get with the program and start cleansing other folks. “Bill Cosby is a rapist; therefore no more Cosby Show or Different World” or “Rap lyrics are misogynist and homophobic; no more Back Dat Azz Up or Pop, Lock, n Drop It-definitely more of any Southern rap like Project Pat or UGK”. I try so hard to surf the wave of responsible black woman activist. Bruh. When the bible says “Die daily” I’m doing that in a vain attempt to maybe be a better role model for what is acceptable for the daughters I’m raising by calling BS on all the stuff I used to love.

Shit’s hard. And exhausting.

My personal problematic fav is R. Kelly. He ain’t never not once made a track that I didn’t love. Not a-one. But his indiscretions are so high on the scale of problematic that I can make no argument for continuing to give his work a spot on my playlist. He a pedophile, b.  Had sex with MINOR minors, joe. Little black girls like the ones in my classrooms. So for nearly 8 years, I wiped all things Ar-ruh off my radar–not even a spin of Step in the Name of Love. Complete eradication of an artist that I legit love.

Until last week.

As I perused Facebook late into the night, a page called “The Shows” was playing the full IFC Kelly-drama Trapped in the Closet. All 33 chapters. I scrolled passed it I know 3 or 4 times, determined not to give even a single (probably illegal) play of nothing he created.

Then the midget got snatched out the cupboard.


I watched the whole thing. It was still funny and smart and ridiculously entertaining. I had real tears as Pimp Lucious kept stuttering, “Ppppackage”. Side was straight aching. And those famous, draws-dropping runs? Still lit. Nobody except Whitney and Luther could transition into a purer falsetto. When it was over, I even when dumpster diving (via Youtube and Google) to see if Robert Kelly had made the last installment–if he would ever clean up the 12 cliffhangers in episodes 22-33. My guilty conscience stopped me short of playing Ignition and the Ignition Remix. I felt like a traitor to black women everywhere as I woke up humming 12 Play and Dream Girl. 

Problematic. Fav.

I want to punch him in the throat. Why did he have to go and basically rape children? Do you know what kind of unit I could write on literary devices with the transcript of that crazy movie??? Alliteration. Hyperbole. Onomatopeia. Assonance. Mood. Theme. Plot. Foreshadowing. Point of View. Cliffhangers. Rising action. Character. Rhyme schemes. Setting. Tone. Hunhhh. Can’t do it, don’t want to try. Because the back story of the artist is sooooo jacked up,  too close to all the things I fight for every day I go to work to make room for R. Kelly. And yet…If you played When A Woman’s Fed Up right now, I know every freaking riff. And would probably get in a body roll or two. Definitely would raise whatever glass I had in my hand.

Sigh. MAAAAAN, listen! What do y’all DO about your problematic favs?  Is it JUST me, or does everybody struggle with it? Help me. I am not prepared for the level cutting required to maintain any sense of black woman liberation. I mean…come on.

What is the line for cut off? Is Chance the Rapper just slap-on-da-wrist problematic for proclaiming (as He and God are mutual fans) that bitches sleep in his hats? Is listening to Kim Burrell off limits because she sings praises to God one minute while hating homosexuals the next? Does President Obama get a pass for being white enough to get chosen to run the free world for 8 years And please don’t talk to me about Jesus and I shouldn’t be listening to R. Kelly anyway. I promise you that my current playlist is hecka vanilla. We JUST got off KidsBop. And I LOVE MUSIC. So. You may as well tell me not to listen to Miles Davis with them hands. Or Mozart’s heaux ass. Or Jimi Hendrix druggy self.  Or Michael Jackson. 😭

God. My whole List got issues. How. Do. Y’all. Deal?!?


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