Though Ne-Yo may have once been onboard to #MuteRKelly following the disgusting revelations presented in the Surviving R. Kelly docuseries and his New York trial last year—which resulted in a prison sentence of 30 years—it now appears as if he’s singing a different tune.
In a recent interview with the UK’s The Independent, the Year of the Gentleman singer discussed his longstanding viewpoint of separating the art from the artist and explained why he still listens to Kelly’s music from time to time.
“I have always been a person that can separate the artist from the art,” he explained. “I don’t give a damn about your personal life, I don’t give a damn about what you’ve done wrong, or what you’ve done right—if I like the song, and it’s attached to a memory that means something to me, it has nothing to do with [the artist] as a person anymore. It’s what this song means to me.”
He later added, “I’ve been in parties where someone will turn on an R Kelly record, and people will be like ‘Boo!’ That’s bullshit, because you know good and well that before this happened, you’d be rocking out to this song, just like everybody else. From time to time, I still listen to R. Kelly music; you just can’t deny the quality. Anybody who tries to say R. Kelly isn’t one of the best songwriters on the face of the planet because of what he did in his personal life, you’re looking at the wrong thing.”
*Deep, heavy, Negro spiritual sigh*
Ne-Yo, Ne-Yo, Ne-Yo. I really wish this was as simple as separating the art from the artist but we both know good and doggone well it isn’t. Especially when it’s abundantly clear that numerous songs of Kelly’s are about, or stem from, his relationships and experiences with the YOUNG GIRLS and women he abused. How on Earth can you listen to that and not feel sick to the stomach?
Nobody has or is denying the fact that that convicted sex trafficker and racketeering ring leader makes or has made good music. The argument is, and has always been, the inspiration behind it. So no, it’s not “bullshit” that people can no longer stand to listen to his songs, it’s actually a little thing called “growth” and evolution.
When you know better, you’re supposed to do better. And considering the fact that you once said verbatim: “Music is important. It really is. But it’s not more important than protecting our children, protecting our little girls”—I would hope that you’d eventually come to understand why the flaw in your logic now.