Some People Will Never Forgive R. Kelly

She Matters: The R&B star's stellar BET Awards performance gave haters another chance to evoke his past.

R. Kelly at the BET Awards (Earl Gibson III/Stringer/Getty Images)
R. Kelly at the BET Awards (Earl Gibson III/Stringer/Getty Images)

There was the camp of people who were surprised and excited because Kelly wasn’t expected to be there, despite his having penned Houston’s comeback song, “I Look to You,” in 2009, which was also the title of her last album. Another camp was surprised but simultaneously clutched their figurative pearls because Kellz, a man with his history, was singing gospel music, in a church and at Houston’s funeral, of all places.

And after his performance, yet another camp arose as a sort of backlash to those who weren’t feeling Kellz being there, no matter how close he was to Houston or how well he sang. They wanted the naysayers to move on and respect the talent.  

It was just like what happened last night.

R. Kelly can sing, is a great entertainer and has written classics for himself and others, like Houston, Michael Jackson, Celine Deon and Luther Vandross. His list of accolades is long. Some people separate the man’s music from his alleged crimes. Some people honestly don’t care about his alleged acts because he made and Chocolate Factory, two of the greatest R&B albums of all time.

And some people just as passionately are not going to like Kelly no matter how great his voice or pen or performances are, because every time they see him, they think of what he allegedly did to that underage girl.

It’s been 10 years since those allegations were first made, and no one’s mind is changing at this point. But still we go through this cycle after every performance.

I’d say, “Enough already,” but there would just be a backlash to the backlash to the backlash, adding another unnecessary step to this already cluttered cycle. So I’ll just say, “Until the next performance,” and watch it all happen again (and again).

Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor to The Root, a life coach and the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life.