When he’s not trapped in the closet, R&B superstar R. Kelly has a history of preying on underage girls, so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that the 49-year-old is now reportedly dating a teenager.
Rumors about the Black Panties singer and 19-year-old Halle Calhoun have been circulating for some time now, however the two appear to have gone public with their relationship after they allowed themselves to be photographed together at an Atlanta party over the weekend.
Social media may be up in arms about the new relationship, but Kelly, grinning at the camera, his arms wrapped around the young girl, clearly doesn’t care.
Maybe he believes he can fly.
And why shouldn’t he? Kelly, lest we forget, has never been found guilty of a sex crime—much less done anything approaching hard time for child sexual abuse—despite the fact that there was a time when the street corners of every major city were littered with vendors flogging bootleg copies of a video showing Kelly engaged in sex with, and urinating on, an allegedly underage girl. The girl in the video, who was referred to by name by Kelly in the footage, was said by her family to have been 14 at the time the tape. Kelly was indicted on child pornography charges, and that same month, in June 2002, he was arrested again after authorities searched his Florida home and discovered 12 images of an allegedly underage girl—the very same girl from the sex tape—on a digital camera inside of a towel inside of a duffel bag. “The images, which police in Polk County, Fla., had confiscated in June, include nine of the girl naked and three of the girl involved in sexual acts with Kelly, police said,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times. An additional 12 counts of child pornography were brought against Kelly.
However, the 12 counts of child pornography related to the obtained photos were dropped when a judge ruled that Miami PD did not have probably cause to search Kelly’s home, and when the sex tape case came to trial, Kelly got off there as well.
There have been a litany of other allegations against Kelly from underage women, but Kelly has been consistently protected by his wealth and power.
In 1994, let’s not forget, Kelly, then 27, married his 15-year-old protégé Aaliyah in a secret ceremony. The marriage was annulled shortly after the release of Aaliyah’s R. Kelly-produced debut album, Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number, whose title track was, of course, written by Kelly.
Kelly has, over the years, tried to cast his marriage to the late Aaliyah as a kind of crazed and innocent affair, even though it was statutory rape. “Well, because of Aaliyah’s passing, as I’ve always said, out of respect for her mother who’s sick and her father who’s passed, I will never have that conversation with anyone,” he told GQ earlier this year. “Out of respect for Aaliyah, and her mother and father who has asked me not to personally. But I can tell you I loved her, I can tell you she loved me, we was very close. We were, you know, best best best best friends.”
As the allegations have piled up against Kelly, however, that defense has become less and less credible, and a definite pattern has emerged.
In 1996, Tiffany Hawkins, a young woman from Kelly’s native Chicago, filed suit against Kelly claiming she “suffered personal injuries and severe emotional harm because she had sex with the singer and he encouraged her to participate in group sex with him and other underage girls,” reported the Chicago Sun-Times.
She alleged she was 15 at the time. She sought $10 million in damages and eventually settled for $250,000 in January 1998, just days after giving a seven-hour deposition.
Kelly had got away with it again.
In Aug. 2001, a woman named Tracy Sampson filed a suit against Kelly, claiming that she slept with Kelly when she was 17, reported the Sun-Times. Kelly settled with Sampson for an undisclosed sum, too.
“I think in the history of rock ‘n’ roll, rock music, or pop culture people misbehaving and behaving badly sexually with young women, rare is the amount of evidence compiled against anyone apart from R. Kelly,” Jim DeRogatis, the Sun-Times reporter who, in 2002, received the video that allegedly depicted R. Kelly having sex with an underage girl, and has covered the story with ceaseless tenacity ever since told the Village Voice this year. “Dozens of girls—not one, not two, dozens—with harrowing lawsuits. The videotapes—and not just one videotape, numerous videotapes. And not Tommy Lee/Pam Anderson, Kardashian fun video. You watch the video for which he was indicted and there is the disembodied look of the rape victim. He orders her to call him Daddy. He urinates in her mouth and instructs her at great length on how to position herself to receive his ‘gift.’ It’s a rape that you’re watching.”
That the justice system has clearly failed many of the young women that Kelly has allegedly seduced is lamentable and all-too-predictable—expensive lawyers and cold hard cash “settlements” are a powerful combination.
But what is truly unforgivable is that while we, the public, know what Kelly is—we have seen it and he continues to rub it in our faces with this latest love affair—we continue to buy his records and watch the TV shows he is in.
In short, we continue to help the record companies make millions for and from this monster.