Mo’Kelly; The Lies of R. Kelly (and his ‘Truth’ for $25.95)

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( Everybody must be lying except R. Kelly.

For you to support R. Kelly, that is what you must believe. Otherwise it’s difficult to reconcile supporting the singer/songwriter on any level, artistic or otherwise. We can have the shallow and rehashed debate of separating the artist from his/her artistry, but to do so is to deny the alleged yet systemic underlying criminal behavior in this particular case. If I am of the minority opinion that dangerous criminal behavior always supersedes artistic brilliance, so be it. I sleep well nightly.

Along those lines, for the expanse of Kelly’s career there has been a documented pattern and pathology, one allegedly connected with pedophilia.

If you are indifferent to the treatment of girls and women, stop reading now  and retire with my opening sentence.

Everybody must be lying except R. Kelly.”

This week, Kelly’s former manager Jeff Kwatinetz filed suit against the singer/songwriter, alleging that a million dollars owed to him was instead used to pay off multiple, underage accusers related to statutory sexual misconduct.

Everybody, including the former manager must be lying, except for R. Kelly.

Last month, Kelly’s former personal assistant and road manager Demetrius Smith released the book, Man Behind the Man, which chronicles among other things, Kelly’s marriage to then-15-year-old Aaliyah and other relationships with numerous underage girls.

Something tells me that Jeff Kwatinetz has a forthcoming subpoena with Smith’s name on it.

Everybody, including the former manager and road manager must be lying, except for R. Kelly…right?

Another one of Kelly’s managers, George Daniels and wife/publicist Regina Daniels simultaneously walked out of R. Kelly’s life after it was revealed that Kelly had “courted” their then-underage daughter.

He (Kelly) denied it. He lied to me to my face. The reason that I’m talking abut this, it’s not just for me, it’s not for my wife, it’s not for my daughter (Maxine), but it’s for the public. It’s for other fathers and mothers because it doesn’t have to be a superstar, it could be the dude on the corner. There are guys who sit around and give your child a couple of bucks to go to school and then wait until they get a little older, then they set that trap. See, so I’m doing this really for everyone.”

George Daniels on 102.3 KJLH Radio – Feb. 2008

Something tells me that Jeff Kwatinetz has two more subpoenas with the Daniels names on them.

Everybody, including two former managers, road manager and his publicist must be lying…because that’s the only way R. Kelly isn’t rightfully treated as a sexual predator of the worst kind. The pedophilia, its pattern and pathology are being corroborated by multiple sources via public statements, books and now a lawsuit. These aren’t anonymous sources of vague connection or questionable association to Kelly. They are reputable, separate and unrelated confidantes who have worked with and by the side of Kelly for the better part of his career.

Yes, everybody must be lying except R. Kelly. That must be the case. It’s the only reasonable explanation for why he’s received such a free pass.

Kelly supporters will be quick to cite the fact that he was found not guilty of child pornography charges almost three years ago to the day. This is the legalese Jedi mind trick that some use to deflect from the obvious. The “not guilty” verdict of 2008 only spoke to one videotape of one girl on one given occasion. In no way did the verdict serve as a blank check to cover the fullness of Kelly’s behavior.

R. Kelly may have been found “not guilty,” but he sure as hell is not innocent.

If the Bishop Eddie Long saga taught us anything, it’s that truly innocent men don’t pay people off to avoid prosecution or embarrassment due to sexual behavior. Jeff Kwatinetz is clear on this distinction and has gone on the record in the form of a lawsuit to make sure the rest of us are clear too.

Curiously enough, one of Kelly’s supporters as of late has been media personality Tavis Smiley, whose book imprint SmileyBooks is publishing Kelly’s forthcoming memoir Soulacoaster.

(Full disclosure: I worked for Smiley from 2005-2010)

We are thrilled to be the conduit through which R. Kelly will tell his own story,” said Tavis Smiley, founder and publisher of SmileyBooks. “He has earned the right to tell his story his own way.”

Tavis Smiley – SmileyBooks press release December, 2009

Actually, R. Kelly didn’t “earn” anything. A book deal is a privilege, as are Smiley’s television and radio properties. Nevertheless, the personal endorsement says volumes.

Then, here in 2011…

I’m suggesting to you if you think that the way we treat women in this country, with patriarchy still alive and well, sexism still alive and well, is determinative or demonstrative of how well our democracy runs, I think you don’t understand how maltreated women are still in this society. That’s all I’m saying.”

Smiley went further…

I don’t think there is a worser (sic) version of sexism.  It’s either right or it’s wrong, it’s acceptable or it’s unacceptable. You’re trying to shade this thing Bill.”

Tavis Smiley – HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher – Feb. 2011

Full video of exchange HERE.

Nothing says “patriarchy” and “sexism” quite like one man singing the praises (pun intended) of the male, oft-alleged sexual predator.

Being “thrilled” at the prospect of profiting from R. Kelly is curious given the well-documented history. Patriarchy and sexism go beyond the obvious actions of the offenders. It also involves who we passively support, what we consciously uplift and the public justifications of both.

If patriarchy and sexism were crimes, then complicity in either makes one an accessory.

Smiley publishing R. Kelly’s memoir while simultaneously criticizing the treatment of women in America is akin to publishing and profiting from the biography of former BART officer Johannes Mehserle, while decrying police brutality and the murder of Oscar Grant.

Advocacy requires consistency…and dare I say…

Wait for it…


If Smiley is truly of the mind that women are maltreated in this society, providing a platform for R. Kelly (and profit stream for himself) is not only confusing, it’s a strong indictment of everything in which Smiley’s advocacy is purportedly based.

(Sexism) It’s either right or it’s wrong, it’s acceptable or it’s unacceptable.

Let’s not try to shade this thing.

It is more than slightly problematic, reconciling the idea of a youth foundation and a widely-alleged pedophile under the same banner and brand. Who knows, maybe Roman Polanski’s schedule was full and Woody Allen was on vacation; let’s not jump to conclusions. We don’t know all the details and back story.

But of course…everybody is lying except for R. Kelly, so it’s all good…right?

I get it, really I do. Make that paper, playa.

Sometimes, principles get in the way of profit. Or vice-versa, depending on how married one is to one’s principles. I suspect nobody begrudges Smiley’s desire to make an honest buck, just the lack of intellectual honesty in making that same buck.

Reveling in signing R. Kelly to a book deal on Monday and demonizing America’s historical mistreatment of women on Tuesday would give any dues-paying member of the Common Sense Association of America pause. Justifying their compatibility on Wednesday is not only insulting to our intelligence, come Thursday it calls into question the authenticity of Smiley’s historical advocacy.

There is nothing inherently unethical per se about publishing Kelly’s memoir. Social pariahs have had books published for eons. But as long as Smiley is in the business of lecturing the masses on the ills of patriarchy and sexism in America; it’s more than a bit questionable.

Smiley should pick one side of the road and stay there, driving soberly, safely and remaining in his lane.

Smiley is likely aware of this glaring contradiction on some level. As of this writing, Kelly is not mentioned as a SmileyBooks author and Soulacoaster is not listed as “coming soon” title on the company’s website. In fact the link to the original press release is no longer active.

Coincidence…I think not…

(A copy of the release in its entirety can be found HERE)

Nevertheless, the R. Kelly memoir is still slated for sale, November 1. It would seem that all principles come with a price tag. It’s backtracking to be sure, but only for the sake of minimizing public criticism, not private revelation as to right and wrong.  It’s either right or it’s wrong, it’s acceptable or it’s unacceptable.  Let’s not try to shade this thing.  Website and press release removal are clear examples of “shading.”

Everybody must be lying except for R. Kelly.  That said, you can read Kelly’s “truth” for $25.95; coming soon to and other fine retailers.

There are soundbites and then there is sincerity.  Do not confuse the two. Smiley is loathe to publicly acknowledge certain realities, such as when viewing a person head-on, it is easy to see when words emanate from both sides of his/her mouth.

If we as a country are truly about the business of changing the way women, especially women of color are treated, then we should not ever uplift those who are directly connected to their mistreatment. Respecting women requires more than televised fiery oratory and cool, catchy slogans on “leadership.”

It requires sincerity, consistency and authenticity.  Sexism is either right or it’s wrong.  If it’s the latter, then it’s also wrong to sell it for a profit.

Written By Morris O’Kelly

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