Joshua Mahan | Staff Writer
R. Kelly is at it again. The famous R&B singer, well known for his thoughtful work on songs like “Feeling On Yo Booty”, “Down Low (Nobody has to Know)”, and his contributions on The Space Jam Soundtrack, announced in a recent interview with Fruit of the Loom Magazine that his forthcoming album, Black Panties, will be devoid of any sexual content whatsoever.
“Black Panties will not—and I repeat—will not have any Sexasaurus inspired lyrics or demeaning sexual innuendos,” said Kelly to reporters last Wednesday. “Put simply, Black Panties is grandma’s panties: there’s nothing sexual about it.”
Kelly’s statement comes off as quite a shock to fans eagerly anticipating the album’s release in December.
Devotees familiar with R. Kelly’s Trapped In The Closet music video series no doubt remember the omnipresent and sometimes confusing sexual themes running through the work. In following the film’s protagonist, Sylvester, the listener is immediately drawn into a story full of complicated lies, rampant adultery, and promiscuous (albeit fascinating) midgets. Thus, one might wonder why Kelly would choose such a new direction.
“I think R. Kelly is simply doing this as a publicity stunt,” said Rap Rapport music critic Reed Berapin. “Singers often say something provocative before an album release in hopes that people will now listen to their music. The greater concern in this situation is why did R. Kelly choose black? Why not red? Now that’s a good color!”
But is it really a publicity stunt? Or is there something more to the situation?
“R. Kelly has long been a fan of children,” said his publicist Regina Daniels. “He genuinely wants to expose himself to the under-fifteen crowd–many of whom were restricted from buying his CDs because of parental advisory limitation laws. This album is an attempt to be child friendly and send a genuine message of love and understanding to America’s youth whom Kelly so desperately wants to connect with. Black Panties marks a change of heart within the artist, who has three children of his own.”
Yet not every R. Kelly fan is thrilled about an album geared towards children. “This is the worst thing that ever happened to R. Kelly,” protested the National Endowment for the Arts president Peter Johnson in a recent interview with the Century Times. “I love R. Kelly, and I appreciate what he’s trying to do for the kids around the world, but R. Kelly without any sexual content is like milk toast—it just doesn’t seem appetizing.”
Where do you stand on this issue? Is black too formal a color for underwear? Is R. Kelly genuine about wanting to reach out to and around children? Is this simply a publicity stunt done to improve his career? Contribute to the discussion by visiting TCT Website or Facebook page—TCT’s QR code can be found at the back page of this paper next.