Winners & losers

The tragedy of life is not that man loses but that he almost wins – Heywood Broun

Many people are not aware of the fact that Robert Sylvester Kelly known as R. Kelly, began his singing career in the church choir as a boy of about 8 years before he became a world-renowned R&B singer, songwriter, and record producer.

He was born in Chicago on January 8, 1967. He never knew his father and he was single-handedly brought up by his mother in the projects of Chicago. While growing up as a child, R. Kelly was allegedly sexually abused by a woman who was ten years older than he was. For those defending his actions, his sexual abuse as a child may have affected him psychologically and could have been responsible for his moral fall following allegations of pedophilia.

Despite the abusive childhood experienced, R. Kelly grew up to become a music star, celebrated in America and across the globe but with many controversial scandals related to sex, child pornography, illegal marriage, and pedophilia. He sang for a while on the streets before he got his breakthrough in 1990 after he landed a recording contract with Jive Records. Following this big break, he released “Born into the 90s” with his backup group, “Public Announcement.” The album featuring “Honey Love” and “Slow Dance” quickly became a hit.

Some of R. Kelly’s later songs include, Storm is Over; I Believe I Can Fly; Ignition; Bump n’ Grind; Step in the Name of Love; Trapped in the Closet; I’m a Flirt; Same Girl; As I Look Into My Life; Beautiful in this Mirror; The Diary of Me; Heaven If You Hear Me; If I Could Turn Back the Hands of Time; just to mention a few.

Kelly also collaborated with great singers such as Gladys Knight, Whitney Houston, and Michael Jackson. Worthy of note, he actually wrote the “You Are Not Alone” song, popularly sang by Michael Jackson.

Over the years, he has won 110 awards in different categories, which Include; American Music Awards, BET Awards, MOBO Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, Music Video Awards, Soul Train Music Awards, BMI Awards, NAACP Image Awards, Source Hip-Hop Awards, and Vibe Awards.

In spite of R. Kelly’s remarkable feat, his life is greeted with many scandals that have contributed to ruining his public image. For instance, while he was 27 he was allegedly involved in an illegal marriage with a 15-year-old Aaliyah, who lied to be 18 years old on the marriage certificate. Her parents, who were displeased with the marriage had it annulled.

Furthermore, he was allegedly involved in criminal acts related to child pornography. But the charges against him were dropped. As if that were not enough, survivors and people from R. Kelly inner circle came forward with new allegations about his mental, sexual, and physical abuse in lifetime’s docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly”, that ran for 6 episodes. Since the confessions were made, he has become an object of mockery both inside and out the entertainment industry.

Probably, the take away from this story of the rise and fall of a celebrity is that a career that takes 30 years to build can be destroyed in the blink of an eye. A jail cell is a long ways from 5-star hotels and room service………

The tragedy is not only for Kelly, but the victims left behind. The church is frequently accused of rushing to judgement, but what people forget – it is the first place that the mercy card is an option.

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