I grew up listening to Robert Sylvester Kelly, the man we all know as R. Kelly. His musical genius always fascinated me. Songs like “the storm is over” resonated not just with the secular world but also with religious folks. And rightly so.
But where is he now?
What happened to R. Kelly was not a plane crash like his former wife, Aaliyah. It was no crash from without, it was a crash from within, the worse of them all- even a crash in morals. He lost his voice, not from doing what most people saw him doing, but from that which few, very few, saw him doing.
Like Rome, Sodom and Gomorrah, were great cities, the greatest at the time. And like Rome, they were morally decayed. The people lost their moral rectitude. Much is made of the fires of heaven that consumed Sodom, but little is said of the true fires of evil passions and moral decadence that burned the city down from within. For, long before those flames came crashing down upon Sodom, flames of untamed passions had already gone up from within the hearts of the men and women of the city. The society makes so much of a boy blowing himself up together with others, with a bomb tied to his underwear, but society fails to see that long before the act is done, that boy’s mind had already blown up from within him, with the act itself being a mere consequence.
Given time, man, with all his untamed passions will eventually plummet or self destruct. Which is what happened to R. Kelly. For in Kelly, we find that no matter how gifted a man is, if he or she cannot tame his passions, he or she will eventually get drowned by them.
Like King Solomon and his vast wisdom as depicted in the Bible, lyrics came so easily for Kelly, exemplified in his film-like track “Trapped in the Closet.”
And so it was that, because he had no issues or struggles penning down songs, he got hooked on the abuse of sex. He went from abusing grown up women to abusing children. He went on, buying his way through, while his songs played the perfect illusion that things were still alright. He was sinking, nay, drowning in his lusts, but fame played a trick on him, to make him think that cheers from fans equalled right living. Its amazing the depths one can sink to in moral depravity, when the people they think they live for, stand applauding.
In history, there has been many of such men, and one of them was Lucifer. Be was perfect in beautiful, flawless in appearance and so his beauty played the ultimate trick on him, and now he holds the lowest place in this world and the world to come, the Bottomless Pit. The irony of it all is that, in trying to be the highest, he became the lowest, just because beauty came so easily for him.
To think that, most times it is what we glory in or take pride in that always brings about our downfall. Absalom was famed for having very long hair and for being the most handsome in Israel at the time. The vanity with which he displayed his beautiful hair, the rabbis say, became his snare and his stumbling-block. By his long hair, Absalom entangled the people to rebel against his father, and by it he himself became entangled, to fall a victim to his pursuers.”
There lived an excellent poet and theologian in the late 1700’s and the mid 1800’s by the name Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Who eventually got hooked on opium, unbeknownst to him, this took his life and career away from him. One day, he wrote in his diary, he woke up in the morning determined to write a poem, and he sat there with pen in hand for hours, no word came. Coleridge broke down in tears and sobbed uncontrollably, knowing that he had laid waste to his gift, because he failed to tame his passions.
As of 2019, Kelly had about 18 count charges against him, and was declared bankrupt, with just over $600 left on him, so much so that, he needed someone to bail him out of jail.
Switch Nigeria reported yesterday that Kelly was denied his most recent request for bail, even with the Coronavirus pandemic that has infected more than 40 inmates in the correctional facility he is currently being held.
So, how are the mighty fallen? How did the ‘King of RnB’ end up broke and with a tainted name? The same way Whitney Houston fell, the same way Michael Jackson fell, is the same way Robert Sylvester Kelly fell from glory. The answer? Untamed passions of a gifted man.