By Mauricio Rodriguez ’19
In January, a six part documentary was released: “Surviving R. Kelly” brought the rapper into infamous headlines. The Chicago Tribune mentioned that this Lifetime documentary special was an “examination of a long history of allegations against the Chicago R&B star.” Bringing back Kelly’s past history of sexual allegations and controversies, Pritzker students have shared their thoughts and opinions on the matter.
After the infamous allegations were made against Robert Sylvester Kelly aka R. Kelly, Pritzker students were asked about their initial reactions. Senior Jordy Peralta said that he “wasn’t surprised” to hear about the allegations. This is all due to R. Kelly’s previous charges with child pornograhy, as stated by The New York Times, in 2002 that were dropped in 2008. On the other hand, junior Allen Trinidad feels that in order to have a strong opinion on the artists, there has to be more evidence that proves his guiltiness, or else it could be “another false allegation.”
Along the same lines, students were asked how their opinion of R. Kelly’s music changed and whether they would continue to listen to his music. Peralta expressed that despite listening and knowing a few songs of R. Kelly’s, he would listen to them again because he enjoyed them before the scandal, so they should not be affiliated with the scandal now. While R. Kelly is not his favorite artist, Peralta feels like Kelly’s music was “cool” up until the scandal. Trinidad similarly stated that he would listen to his songs once in a while because “music is music,” so it should not be treated as anything other than that. However, Trinidad mentioned that if he were to listen to some of R. Kelly’s songs again, he “wouldn’t see him in the same way,” as he did before the scandal.
Regarding the allegations made by the victims, Peralta expressed that he felt sad that many suffered, and the number of the victims were alarming. He also expressed his concerns on whether or not “justice will be served.” Trinidad, as well, mentioned that this situation is “very tragic.” Also, he mentioned that he felt sympathy for the victims being that they come out with these allegations after so many years. He felt concerned that some of these victims may have been scared of R. Kelly’s fame and status being used against them to belittle or cause “embarrassment” for them if they had confessed earlier on.
In summary, the six part documentary caused shock for many regarding what went on behind the scenes. Despite previous charges and cases, these new revelations made headlines, as they horrified and stunned the viewers. While students feel that some of his songs were hits, other cannot listen to them in the same way.