Tag Archives: R. Kelly

That R Kelly Thing

Last night I gave myself the gift of finally finishing TV’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which, despite its frustrating offness about race¬†and its Girl with the Dragon Tattooism, entertained and evoked. Still, I was relieved to see the finale and move on to less passively torturey entertainments.

So when the R. Kelly story broke–or rather, when the latest in a multi-decades-long string of R. Kelly pedophile/abuser stories broke, I was already dwelling on assholes using religion to justify structural domination of women, people of color, and gender/sex minorities.

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Oh. That R. Kelly

When I was in college, I earned cookie money working here, a summer enrichment program for low-income girls. In my day, it was dance, drama, and creative writing. I taught creative writing, during which I made up lesson plans out my own head, and I also helped out in drama, and it was lovely.

One of student theater’s many perks is all the break time. Y’all don’t get that in athletics. Break time and the chance to imagine all the possible future selves one might become. During the many break times, these junior high girls would sing and reenact popular R&B videos. Performing on stage for each other and themselves.

When they sang “I believe I can fly,” they believed, during the moments spent singing the song, that they could fly.

Low-income girls, some of them several families to a house, living in what was only recently at that time the number one town for murder, per capita.

And when I think, now, what could have happened to them had they lived in Chicago instead of California.

I believe I can cry.

PS. Does anyone remember or care what Michael Jackson was accused of? And settled out of court for? And they dance dance dance anyway to “Smooth Criminal?” in a bemused retro way?

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