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In the aboriginal anniversary of 2019, the music apple was rocked by Surviving R. Kelly, Dream Hampton’s six-episode Lifetime documentary account alarming animal corruption accusations adjoin ashamed R&B superstar R. Kelly. (Kelly has denied all allegations.) Two weeks afterwards the docuseries aired, amidst accessible outcry, Sony Music abandoned Kelly from its agenda afterwards comment. A few months afterwards came the advertisement of the book Soulless: The Case Adjoin R. Kelly by Jim DeRogatis, a adept music journalist-turned-investigative anchorman who’d been chronicling the Kelly adventure for about two decades. And by the end of 2019, Kelly was abaft bars, apprehension balloon on assorted accuse and potentially adverse added than 100 years in prison. 

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DeRogatis’s captivation in the Kelly case dates aback to the alpha of the millennium, aback as a Chicago Sun-Times pop analyzer he accustomed an bearding fax the night afore Thanksgiving 2000, alerting him about an advancing analysis of Kelly by the Chicago Police Department’s sex-crimes unit. DeRogatis and adolescent Sun-Times anchorman Abdon Pallasch began investigating the story, and a year later, they accustomed another, abundant added abominable bearding dispatch: a cine featuring Kelly agreeable in a animal act with an allegedly arrears girl. Afresh in 2002, aback Kelly was arrested and accusable on 21 counts of accomplishment adolescent pornography, DeRogatis was there to awning the case — and was akin ordered to affirm about the sex bandage in the trial.

When Kelly was acquitted of all 21 of those accuse in 2008, abounding industry assembly and admirers akin seemed accommodating to forgive, forget, and bound move on. But DeRogatis affiliated with what by now had become a claimed crusade. In 2013 — the year that the columnist calls “the year of indie outreach,” aback Kelly appear the sexually explicit Black Panties album, played the Pitchfork and Coachella festivals, and akin abutting Lady Gaga for risqué “Do What You Want” duets on Saturday Night Live and the American Music Awards — DeRogatis batten with the Village Voice about what he had witnessed while accoutrement Kelly’s “stomach-churning” adolescent chicanery trial. That commodity went viral, but Kelly’s able success affiliated into 2014 and beyond. In 2017, DeRogatis’s explosive exposé for BuzzFeed about what he declared as Kelly’s “sex cult” additionally fabricated waves, but again, the resultant corruption bound fizzled out. 

On Jan. 2, Lifetime will premiere Surviving R. Kelly, Allotment II: The Reckoning, which capacity the after-effects of Allotment I — such as the slut-shaming, doxxing, accusations of lying, and afterlife threats endured by the survivors who were interviewed for the series. Additionally, it includes abominable new allegations (including a affirmation by one woman that she had a suicide alliance with Kelly) and affecting new affidavit about Kelly’s declared animal delinquency from his above hair-braider and confidant, Lanita Carter. DeRogatis additionally appears as “the world’s foremost bookish of R. Kelly interviews,” and courthouse columnist appointment footage of him lashing out at Kelly apostle Steve Greenberg, as apparent at the 8:23 mark below, is featured in a memorable segment.

As of this writing, Kelly charcoal in federal aegis in Chicago; in April 2020, he is appointed to angle balloon on 13 federal accuse accompanying to adolescent chicanery and obstruction of justice. In addition, he faces 26 added accompaniment and federal counts accompanying to bent animal abuse, animal corruption of a child, and racketeering. It will be absorbing to see if the accompanist is assuredly brought to amends in the new year, and if the music business will assuredly accept its accurate #MeToo moment. DeRogatis afresh batten at breadth with Beast Ball for a anniversary account about the accompaniment of R. Kelly in 2019, the added difficult abstraction of amid art from its ambiguous artist, “cancel culture,” the backfire adjoin the Kelly survivors that batten out, and why it’s so important to accept to those women — and to women in general.

Yahoo Entertainment: It has been theorized that in 2019, the music apple had its #MeToo reckoning, with Surviving R. Kelly and Soulless as able-bodied as with Michael Jackson and Leaving Neverland. But others say that annihilation is absolutely action to change. Michael is acutely continued gone, but area do you anticipate we angle with R. Kelly now?

Jim DeRogatis: Well, the affair that bodies who accept adherent our lives to accepted music are action to accept to attack with for the blow of our lives, in general, is this question: Is there article about this art anatomy [music] in accurate that has fabricated it an ideal bloodthirsty arena for some of the affliction predators in the history of entertainment? Because let’s face it, men accept been alleviative women awfully abominably in accepted music from able-bodied afore Frank Sinatra to way afterwards Ryan Adams. But Kelly in accurate — and I anticipate that this still hasn’t sunk in for a lot of bodies — he’s the affliction predator in the history of accepted music. He sits in bastille now adverse two federal sets of charges, with trials upcoming: a balloon in Illinois and balloon in Minnesota, additional Lord knows whatever else. Accuse are still actuality added. It was abandoned a brace of weeks ago that the Aaliyah allegation was added to the federal indictment. He’s attractive at, by my count, 115 years in bastille on 42 abomination counts. Ain’t cipher has had that aggregate of bent activity, or some of the particulars. Cipher in the history of pop music has been answerable with racketeering like a mob bang-up or the arch of a biologic cartel. So this is singular. 

And how is this accidental to the civic #MeToo conversation, would you say?

Well, as a critic, as a pop-culture zeitgeist observer, and the actual actuality that you asked the question, says you’re seeing the aforementioned thing: I don’t anticipate the Kelly case has had about the aforementioned appulse as Harvey Weinstein or Jeffrey Epstein.

And why do you anticipate that is?

Oh, I apperceive why. It comes from accepting talked to a 100 women for my book, 48 women whose lives were broke by that man. And they say cipher affairs beneath in our association than adolescent atramentous girls. So we accept this abracadabra of cipher because adolescent atramentous girls to be victims, and a absolute superstar in the atramentous community. Aside from what I alarm in the book “the year of indie outreach” — Pitchfork, Bonnaroo, Coachella, the hipsters all-embracing Kelly as super-sexualized kitsch in 2013 — he has primarily been a atramentous superstar. Bill Cosby was everybody’s befuddled, adorable dad. Michael Jackson was everybody’s better pop brilliant of all time. Kelly’s a atramentous superstar. I don’t akin anticipate he above the boundaries, with notable exceptions like “I Accept I Can Fly,” like a Marvin Gaye or a Donny Hathaway did. Kelly is a atramentous superstar, and I anticipate that that’s allotment of it, because his victims were mostly atramentous — and all women of color. I anticipate that is significant. 

You know, I’m a big boy. I’m a journalist. Thick skin, right? So I’m not talking about the abhorrence I’ve gotten, although there’s been affluence of it. But the women who were adventurous abundant to do the hardest affair any woman can do, which is to rip out her body and allocution about her animal corruption at the easily of a rich, powerful, famous, and admired man… the abhorrence that they are accepting for accepting done, both with me and through Surviving R. Kelly with Dream Hampton, is unconscionable. So, accompanying to what I said before, one of the questions that’s absolutely bistro abroad at me is, is there article about R. Kelly music that not abandoned ignores, not abandoned condones, but conceivably akin champions this affectionate of bloodthirsty behavior? I mean, at one point, Carey Kelly, one of Kelly’s two half-brothers, said to me, “You got to realize, Jim, that the s*** he’s talking about, he’s talking to mother***ers on their level.” He meant that R. Kelly is [singing] to added predators.

But do you anticipate 2020 is the year aback R. Kelly is assuredly brought to amends — acceptation literally, in a cloister of law?

Well, no. I anticipate that this is action to annoyance on for years. The two federal cases are awfully complicated. From the Eastern District of New York and Brooklyn and Chicago, they accept not been consolidated. There’s a complicated case of four victims the accompaniment of Illinois brought, and there’s a case the accompaniment of Minnesota brought with one victim. I anticipate it’s action to be years as this apprehension its way through trial. So far, he is too brainless to booty a plea. I don’t anticipate he anytime will. So this will annoyance on for years, until beneath and beneath and beneath bodies care. But he’s never action to breathe beginning air again. He’s never accepting out of jail. He’s been denied bandage on federal cases and the Illinois case, and haven’t akin been arraigned yet on the Minnesota case. The abhorrent capacity and the little fascinating, awe-inspiring sidelights, all of that will eke out over months and afresh years, and he’ll never be chargeless again. Beneath and beneath bodies will care. Afresh 48 women whose names I apperceive will accept to say what those I’ve announced to accept said, which is, all of this is too little, too late. 

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I charge say, I am afraid about how it seems like the antecedent shock from both Surviving R. Kelly and Leaving Neverland has already subsided, afterwards assertive the account aeon beforehand this year. I akin admiration if bodies will akin affliction aback Surviving R. Kelly, Allotment II comes out.

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It ability not accomplish a difference. I anticipate now we’re at the afterlife of outrage. It’s like annihilation gets us agitated anymore, as continued as we accept our goddamn corpuscle phone. Whatever media device, aloof bung in. Actuality we are now, absorb us. So, there’s two things at play. There’s the actuality that a lot of bodies accept never taken music actual actively above “this gives me amusement appropriate now.” Afresh there’s those of music admirers who do booty it seriously, who are conflicted and are cerebration about this. But things additionally change. I mean, I never anticipation I’d see gay alliance legalized, and I never anticipation I would see association accomplish pariahs out of anybody who continues to smoke — aloof to adduce two amusing examples. So maybe one day, we’ll be sitting about saying, “Can you accept there was anytime a catechism that bodies acquainted they shouldn’t accept to R. Kelly?” He may be accounting out of the books. Or, all this may be forgotten. 

But amuse agenda that in the deathwatch of all the federal indictments, Kelly’s Spotify numbers went through the roof. So added bodies than anytime are alert to him. I don’t anticipate that’s played out.  [Sony may accept abandoned Kelly, but continues to administer and bazaar his catalog.] You’re allurement the amiss guy. I mean, I’ve been shouting about this aback November 2000. Beats the f*** out of me.

On that note, should R. Kelly’s music be cancelled? Should his songs be banned from the clubs, from radio? What if a DJ spins “Ignition” or accession one of his hits in the club? What if a bells bandage plays a Kelly awning at a reception? How should we react?

I anticipate one of the greatest thinkers on the attributes of art, Oscar Wilde, was himself awfully conflicted about this [idea of art vs. artist]. Oscar Wilde, on the one hand, said that there is no such affair as a moral or abandoned book. It is abandoned acceptable or bad. But on the added hand, Oscar Wilde said some allotment of the moral amount of a man is present in whatever art he creates. So some allotment of the angry of Michael Jackson that pursued arrears boys is in his music. Some allotment of the angry of Kelly is in his music. That accepting been said, this is the agitation in academia, abundantly actuality led by atramentous men, accusatory “cancel culture”: You shouldn’t “cancel” Michael Jackson. You shouldn’t “cancel” R. Kelly. But I don’t see it as cancellation. They’re aggravating to put it in agreement of censorship. I see it as a customer choice. What the #MuteRKelly women or [activists] Oronike Odeleye and Kenyette Tisha Barnes started was a movement saying: “Do not accord your dollars to a man who preys on our daughters.”  

So, I anticipate there’s no appropriate or amiss in art, and I absolutely am adamantly adjoin to any censorship. But I do anticipate if art matters, and it absolutely affairs to me, you should be acquainted of the context. If you are acquainted that no one in the history of accepted music has anytime faced bent animal corruption chargers as abolitionist as R. Kelly, yet you can still booty amusement from “Ignition,” I can’t adjudge you. But I additionally can’t adjudge the actuality at the bells who may additionally footfall advanced and say, “Would you booty this off the turntable, Mr. DJ?,” or airing out of the room.

But I don’t anticipate you’re amiss if you can still buck to accept to “Ignition,” because such is the adapted ability of music — that it is now your song, and it’s as abundant castigation as it’s that son of a bitch’s. Music gets in our soul. If “Ignition” has played at every backyard barbecue you’ve anytime been to, if “I Accept I Can Fly” was your kid’s kindergarten graduation song, if “Step in the Name of Love” was played at your wedding, afresh you own that song as abundant as that angry mother***er does. I’m not cogent you to address those songs out of your history. You own them now. But I am adage you’ve got to apperceive what this monster did to the atramentous community. … With R. Kelly the aggregate of his absolute archive is him singing about a female which has now, I believe, been accurate above adumbration of a agnosticism for him is about bloodthirsty on arrears girls. The songs that aren’t about that are about “Lord, absolve me for my sins” — which he’s never named, but we now apperceive what those sins absolutely were. 

R. Kelly seemed to accept a assertive blazon of victim…

Yeah. Demetrius Smith, his alley manager, he told me that night afterwards night afterwards night, there’d be 20 beauteous women in the aback allowance at Kelly’s concerts, all half-naked and all about 22 years old, accommodating to do annihilation for him, with him. But night afterwards night afterwards night, there’d be a shy, acne-plagued teen, 14, 15, 16, in the corner, staring at her shoes, too shy to allocution to anybody. And night afterwards night afterwards night, that was who R. Kelly went after. He knew the girls who would breach bottomward easiest. He had this array of sixth sense, as abounding predators do. He knew who the victim was: bodies that may accept botheration situations at home, bodies who accept poverty, bodies who were acquisitive to sing.

Related to that aftermost point, maybe adolescent girls who anticipation he could accomplish them the “next Aaliyah.” Which is acutely ironic, obviously.

That’s one of the better tragedies. Tiffany Hawkins, victim No. 1, had a articulation like an angel. From the south ancillary of Chicago, she and her two best accompany — additionally abundantly accomplished singers, 15 years old — catholic for work, and they saw Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, London, singing abaft their best friend, Aaliyah. Every distinct one of those 15-year-olds he preyed upon, I anticipate a acceptable 40 of his 48 victims, were ambitious singers with absurd talent. And none of them anytime fabricated music. He never accustomed any of them to accomplish music. He preyed on their admiration to accomplish music, and to become the abutting Aaliyah, and afresh he dead that dream.

But, aloof to comedy devil’s advocate, there are abounding bodies who accusation those girls, or the girls’ allegedly careerist parents, for absolution their American Idol-like dreams of distinction billow their judgment. Like, “Why did you go to his studio?” Or “Why did you let your kid go on bout with him?” That array of thing.

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I absolutely accept what you’re saying. But again, anticipate about race. Did we anytime say of JonBenét Ramsey’s parents, “How cartel you let your toddler dress up like a sexpot?” I don’t apperceive if we would analogously catechism the legions of white mommies and daddies out there who are accommodating to do annihilation to get their babe in a Broadway show, to get their babe a attempt at pop stardom, to get their babe on some aerodrome in a appearance show. I anticipate abjection in the atramentous association plays into all of this.

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Again, not to alibi R. Kelly’s behavior in any way, but I did anticipate it was absorbing that a lot of bodies in your book, instead of adage Kelly bare to be bound up, they’d say things like “He’s sick” or “He needs help” or “He needs therapy.” There’s a lot added acquaintance and affinity for brainy bloom issues than there was in the ‘90s or aboriginal 2000s. So I’m apprehensive if you accede with that, and if you anticipate if he’d had that affectionate of action at some point in his life, maybe these tragedies could accept been prevented? Maybe he never would accept done these things?

This is a catechism that takes me far out of my abyss as a music announcer and a music critic, but I’ll about-face to what I abstruse from experts that I talked to. They say that the all-inclusive majority of adolescence corruption victims go the aisle of acceptable advocates and champions of corruption victims in the future. The way that they cope it, to action it, is to try to assure others. A baby allotment become abusers themselves. Now, I empathize with the weird, disturbing accomplishments and corruption that Kelly suffered from men and women in his childhood. I detail that at abundant length. [Both R. Kelly and his half-brother Carey accept claimed they were afresh sexually abused as children.] But afresh I apprehend the cardinal of wakeup calls. The Aaliyah affair alarming up, which he dodged until three weeks ago aback it’s accountable to a federal indictment. The aboriginal accusation by Tiffany Hawkins. The additional and third by Tracy Sampson and Patrice Jones, and afresh Montina Woods. Afresh the allegation for authoritative adolescent pornography, and afresh the balloon [in 2002].

During the [2002] trial, he was seeing the top atramentous analyst in Chicago, actuality advised for his corruption and his trauma, and demography testosterone-killing drugs — about acceptable de-gendered, neutered, with drugs throughout the trial. But the minute the balloon was over, all of that was out the window. In fact, afore it was over, during the trial, he began advancing 15-year-old Jerhonda Pace, who is now accountable to federal and accompaniment allegation as one of 12 new victims. So what I am aggravating to say is, how abounding times did he accept the befalling to about-face his activity around, and he aloof could not or would not stop? Therefore, I anticipate affinity ends at a point. He had every breach that dozens of bodies who’ve had agnate appalling agony in their lives accept never gotten.

R. Kelly pleaded not accusable to a new allegation afore Judge Lawrence Flood at Leighton Bent Cloister Building in Chicago, Ill. on Thursday, June 6, 2019. (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/Pool/TNS)

On the accountable of these crimes actuality prevented: At some point during your investigation, how abounding bodies who’ve formed with Kelly accept appear to you adage that they feel bad that they were complicit — that they either witnessed something, or knew something, or doubtable something, and aloof angry a dark eye?

Dozens. Dozens. Dozens. Recording engineers, bandage operators, almanac aggregation publicists, radio advance people, concert industry people, musicians — some of them absolutely famous, some of them flat musicians. Dozens of people. 

Is there an overarching affair as to why these bodies did nothing? 

I anticipate it was consistently a ability imbalance. These were bodies who were disturbing to get ahead, to accomplish ends meet, who backward on lath because they couldn’t allow not to, until — and there was a adapted angled point for every distinct actuality — assuredly they couldn’t accept by what they saw any longer. Again, it’s a catechism of power. One of the things that’s alluring to me about the Epstein adventure is ain’t no f***ing way Prince Andrew didn’t accept a clue. And it’s adamantine to accept Alan Dershowitz or Bill Clinton or Donald Trump didn’t accept a clue as to what was action on [with Jeffrey Epstein]. It is absurd to accept that Clive Calder, the multi-multi-multi-millionaire architect of [Kelly’s label] Jive Records, was blind of what Kelly was doing. So it’s absolutely adamantine to booty the bandage operator, who was action through hell in these 20-hour sessions, to task, aback the arch of the almanac aggregation apparently could accept chock-full it. 

Why do you anticipate it took so continued akin to get to this point with R. Kelly?

I anticipate the acumen Surviving connected, and Neverland affiliated as well, is America assuredly got to apprehend from these victims. For two decades, I was sitting one-on-one with adolescent women, who generally took years afore they absitively to go on the almanac and allege to me. I was accepting that experience, and Surviving gave America some affinity of that experience. Woman afterwards woman afterwards woman — they can’t all be lying, right? But already again, I can abandoned say in acknowledgment to your catechism what they’ve all said to me: It’s too little, too late. Aloof anticipate that if he’d been convicted, Jerhonda would not accept been heard, Azriel Clary would not accept been heard, Joy Savage would not accept been heard, Asante McGee would not accept been heard, Kitty Jones would not accept been heard, Halle Calhoun would not accept been heard. Because those things wouldn’t accept happened. It’s like, wow — if Kelly had chock-full aback Tiffany Hawkins approved to stop him with the aboriginal lawsuit, the victim account would accept been bristles of her best friends, who he preyed on at 15, and Aaliyah. And it would accept concluded there. But it didn’t end. It never did. So there’s no satisfaction. It’s aloof a horrible, adverse f***ing story, about music, this art anatomy that I love, actuality acclimated to ruin lives instead of lift us up.

As you mentioned before, this all goes able-bodied above any one artist, above R. Kelly or Michael Jackson or whoever. And you say that, historically, there’s been article intrinsically available about accepted music. But you’re a music superfan and a music historian, aboriginal and foremost. You’ve affected on this a bit already, but area do you angle on the accomplished separating-the-art-from-the artisan agitation in general?

There’s a book by a accumulation of British bookish women alleged Under My Thumb: Music That Hates Women and the Women Who Adulation It. It deals with aggregate from the Rolling Stones to Eminem. And I admiration if — clashing film, clashing theater, clashing beheld art — is there article inherent in music that lets us embrace the taboo, the evil? Balloon about R. Kelly, balloon about Michael Jackson. Accept you listened to “Brown Sugar” lately? The Stones are 70 years old, on bout charging $650 for halfway-decent seats, and they’re still singing this song about the fantasies in the active of bondservant owners. They’re still singing “Midnight Rambler,” fantasizing about actuality a animal predator, rapist, consecutive killer, the Boston Strangler.

So for me, area my own claimed adding band is, is if the art is about the misdeeds, I can’t disregard it or accept to it or absorb it. Fully 98 percent of the Rolling Stones’ archive can still accord me pleasure, but I can’t accept to “Brown Sugar,” and I can’t accept to “Midnight Rambler.” I can accept to all Michael Jackson and still booty amusement from it, up to but not including the aftermost two albums. The aftermost two albums are abounding of those songs like “All the Lost Children,” area Jackson is putting himself as a savior of children, or “D.S.,” area he’s demography on by hardly adapted name the prosecutor in Santa Barbara County who approved him, area he’s saying, “Media, you approved to excruciate me like you crucified the Lord.” No, I am not bottomward with that.

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Yes, but abounding bodies would say some songs, like the Stones ones for instance, accept to be advised aural the ambience of aback they came out. “It was a adapted time” or whatever.

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I don’t anticipate there’s one acknowledgment here. I anticipate every distinct one of us as individuals has to accede area the curve are. I don’t anticipate there is any amiss or appropriate in art. I anticipate there is abandoned the obligation of us to anticipate about it. So conceivably the reconsideration of some Zeppelin songs, of some Motley Crue songs, whoever’s songs, is continued overdue. And that chat is actuality had. I’m not action to adjudge addition for continuing to accept and beam at Eminem’s abounding songs fantasizing about murdering his wife Kim, but I can’t accept to them. They angry my abdomen aback I aboriginal heard them. “Find’em, F***’em, and Flee” and “To Kill a Ho” on the additional N.W.A anthology angry my abdomen aback I aboriginal heard them in 1991. I anticipate it took me a brace of years afore I absolutely accomplished what “Brown Sugar” was about, and now, at atomic aback 1990, I accept not been able to accept to that song. I don’t appetite to appoint a moral litmus analysis on art. But I will not accord a pass. 

So aggregate that you aloof said, aback bodies are adage you got to put it in context, I say [to those artists], “F*** you and bulls***. Your ‘context’ at the time was you were a scumbag. You did not account women, and portrayed it in song, and I don’t appetite to apprehend it.” Because at the aforementioned time that s*** is happening, we accept Joan Jett. At the aforementioned time Led Zeppelin is happening, we accept Heart. We accept consistently had the sex-positive, female-positive alternative. Nirvana’s Nevermind had not yet appear out aback we saw Dr. Anita Hill broken afar in abounding appearance of the apple and Clarence Thomas put on the Supreme Court, and actuality we are today, afterwards the chat has started, with Dr. Blasey Ford accepting broken afar in abounding appearance of the apple and Brett Kavanaugh put on the Supreme Court.  But I still anticipate of Cobain adage appear the end of his activity in his journals, “The approaching of music belongs to women.” 

And I anticipate the music that will angle is the actuality that was about liberation for all of us and empowerment for all of us, and the anniversary of all of our admiration to be admired as individuals and for our adapted individuality. I anticipate that as I accessory at it now, the admired art that I accept — whether it’s Wire, Savages, Accessible Enemy, Nirvana, or George Clinton and Funkadelic — is absolutely about the anniversary of the activity force and this action adjoin nihilism. Abnegation to me includes sexism and any of the “isms” that bodies of ability will use to put everybody with censor down. 

The R. Kelly adventure has taken up about a third of your life, and added than bisected of your able life. What is the affair about this case that sticks with you the most, that haunts you the most?

There are $.25 and pieces of everyone’s story. Lizzette Martinez actuality bisected a country from home in Chicago, larboard abandoned to expel at 17 in a auberge allowance — this Miami girl, a admirable singer, who never sang again. Or Jerhonda, actuality such a fan that she was accessory the trial, and afresh award out what he absolutely was [when he pursued and abused her as well]. All of those belief abode me. 

But I anticipate my book opens absolutely with Tiffany Hawkins. If her name had not been in a fax that I got on the Wednesday afore Thanksgiving 2000, I would accept never started bottomward this aisle of cogent this story. Afresh accepting had the advantage of assuredly affair her in January 2019, aback Surviving R. Kelly had aloof aired — I remembered that on Dec. 21, 2000, I had put her name in a circadian newspaper, because we were advertisement what had happened to her [in 1991]. She had banned to allocution [in 2000], and her parents banned to talk. I said to her [in 2019], “That charge accept been a s***ty day for you,” and she said, “No. I was animated you did it. It had to be done. Thank you.” That’s absolutely cutting to me. But afresh additionally to anticipate that this babe with the articulation of an angel singing in Paris, Amsterdam, London, and Rome, and afresh never singing again… I already asked her, “Tiffany, can you akin accept to music?” And she told me, “No. I can’t booty any joy from music anymore.” The book ends that way. To me, it’s an analytic story. It’s a adventure about journalism. It’s a adventure about culture. It’s a adventure about #MeToo. But I’m a f***ing music-lover at the end of the day. So that band absolutely sticks with me.

Jim DeRogatis on ‘Surviving R. Kelly, Allotment II: The Reckoning.’ (Photo: Lifetime)

Obviously you did not accompany bottomward R. Kelly singlehandedly, but your advertisement had a duke in it. What do you anticipate your specific addition was to the cause?

Well, for a fat, clueless guy from New Jersey, who is hardly the apotheosis of “woke,” or wasn’t for abounding years, all I can say is: I listened. I listened to hundreds of atramentous women who said, “No one’s alert to me. I’ve been hurt. Can I acquaint you my story?” So the acclaim is on those women. If I deserve credit, it’s aloof for the actuality that I listened and told the stories. The belief accept stood. Not a chat has been corrected, clarified, retracted, or accountable to lawsuit. I anticipate the 42 abomination counts and four indictments is appealing acceptable absolution for a journalist, right? But it’s about the women. If women hadn’t trusted me to acquaint their story, and I don’t anticipate I accept superpowers as a announcer in that regard.

I aloof anticipate I shut up and listened and cared, and didn’t accord up. Because it would accept been absolutely accessible to accord up afterwards the aboriginal adventure in December 2000, area annihilation happened and in actuality I was alleged a “racist” for aggravating to booty bottomward a acknowledged atramentous man, according to abounding in the Chicago atramentous community. But again, that ain’t annihilation compared to the abhorrence that these brave, amazing women get. Yes, some of them are flawed, and some of them accept contradictions in their stories. That’s alleged actuality a animal being, OK? That is additionally abduction ability calumniating them. Anyway, I anticipate I accept a voice. And I’ve approved to use that megaphone to amplify bodies who weren’t actuality listened to. 

I did an accident in New York with Jamilah Lemieux, who I account awfully as a ability critic, and Tarana Burke, who started #MeToo 16 years ago. And I’m cerebration that sitting with [Burke] today has got to be what it was like to sit with Martin Luther King or Malcolm X in 1965. This is a common civilian rights analysis that the absolute history of humankind is overdue, and goddammit, accompany it on. And to whatever admeasurement I am a comment for me alert to women and cogent their stories, I’m blessed to accept done that. 

(This chat has been edited for clarity.)

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