Let’s begin by recognizing the strength, poise, and infallibility of Black women like Gayle King. Throughout her much-anticipated interview with R. Kelly, which aired on Friday evening at 8 pm ET, King demonstrated the measured focus of a veteran journalist while also providing a tangible glimpse at what “Black girl magic” looks like up close.
Her ability to withstand various disturbing moments from her interview subjects was nothing short of heroic, as her mission for the interview was clear.
“He is a mirror reflecting a reckoning,” King spoke, highlighting why her conversation with Kelly was critical at this moment in time. “The explosive interview is part of a larger conversation America is right in the middle of – it has to do with violence, privilege and the rights of women.”
Here are the most explosive and disturbing aspects of that interview.
Robert’s Public Manipulations
The interview made it clear that R. Kelly has been studying President Donald Trump. Several times throughout the airing, Kelly repeatedly questioned Gayle’s nomenclature. “Allegations” and “reputation” are just “rumors,” and “young women” are just “women” according to him. Worst of all, though, was when he likened McDonald’s to his mother, saying there was a deep sentimental connection he had to the restaurant.
“When it comes to McDonald’s, that ‘M’ stands for mom,” he suggested. It was previously established in Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly documentary that Kelly frequently met young women at that McDonald’s in the past.
“Robert is a master manipulator,” one subject from the documentary told CBS.
His Current Polygamous Relationship
The admission from Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Clary that they are in a relationship with R. Kelly, and that the three of them enjoy one another’s time as a family, was heartbreaking – if only because both women are under 24 years old to Robert’s 52 years and have seemingly been with him for more than four years.
When asked, both emphatically suggested they are in love with R. Kelly. Yet, their parents suggested horror at not only the age difference but the alleged abuse.
“R. Kelly has a fetish and a sickness with children,” said Azriel’s father.
For many viewers, it is deeply implausible that these two women made conscious, measured, and reflective decisions to be in a relationship with Kelly. Their repetitive claims and defiance, in fact, suggested otherwise.
“He’s a manipulative liar,” Azriel suggested about her father (not Kelly), saying he is the one who is soliciting her “like a [expletive] hoe.”
Robert Ragefully Responding to Questions
King admitted that she thought she might get “clobbered” when R. Kelly stood up at one now viral point in the interview and began screaming.
As Kelly flailed his arms around and screamed into the camera, King remained calm and present to ensure the interview went on smoothly.
The response from victims and former associates to his behavior?
“The rage, the crying…he is a big liar,” one victim’s mother, Michelle Kramer, later told CBS.
Kelly Questioning Other Parenting Styles
“What kind of father would sell their daughter to a man,” Kelly wondered out loud.
Of course, Kelly’s questioning suggests a dangerously flawed logic here — that if a parent hands him — or worse, sells him — their child, he is not culpable for what happens to them from there on out.
Meanwhile, both Savage and Clary’s parents deny that they have ever demanded money or received money from R. Kelly.
“Let me make sure I’m clear, I have never received any funds from R. Kelly – the only thing I’ve asked for is one thing: to see my daughter and make sure she’s healthy and fine,” Savage’s father stated unequivocally.
The Reality of R. Kelly’s Legacy
While many have continued to praise his music, and most fans have remained loyal to him, the interview paints a clear picture of how his reputation will forever be tainted.
“They’re freaky; they’re very sexual,” Kelly chuckles while talking about his own songs after Gayle suggests that they only support the narrative that he could be doing sexually inappropriate things.
“It’s been called pornographic,” she suggests, a statement to which he feigned shock.
Despite iconic songs that have been the soundtrack for many people’s lives, Kelly’s truth was immortalized by the interview which only left more questions than answers for the American public.