Unsettling as it is, the revelations brought forward by the Lifetime Documentary-Series “Surviving R. Kelly”, does more than just bring notice to the predatory behaviour that goes unchecked when there are powerful forces at work within the entertainment industry.
It invokes a deeper look into the sensitive inner-workings of an abusive relationship and the vindictive nature with which predatory behaviour cultivates itself.
Since the foundation of the #MeToo movement, it has sparked many victims of sexual assault to come forward and be given the opportunity to speak up; underlying which is also the discourse of a strenuously abusive relationship and why survivors find it difficult to leave and have their voices heard.
Whilst it is difficult to unpack the layers that bind together the emotions as they unravel over time through what is a difficult process for victims to finally come to terms with; R. Kelly’s actions have revealed much about how the industry protects their most valuable assets and the lengths at which the “YesMen” will go in keeping their clients satisfied.
What’s baffling to many, as it is to me, is why exactly R. Kelly’s music sales have been spiking since the release of the documentary; as many, including Jada Smith, voicing their concerns as to why this phenomenon is occurring.
What’s evident to me, in my opinion, is the curiosity with which as humans we are driven to controversy and how it peaks our interest.
Think of examples such as Murder Documentaries and the recent O.J. Simpson series televised and how it sparked a international interest in the murder of Nicole Simpson; with many uncovering further information and the following ESPN’s 30 for 30 produced documentary O.J. Made in America — and book sales spiking as a result of it.
The vehemently inquisitive nature of humans without consideration for collateral damage spreads in this new-age of social media; topics start trending and undoubtedly the search rate for “R. Kelly” metastasises.
During the Bill Cosby trials, a similar phenomenon occurred with a newer generation’s peaked interest in “The Cosby Show” — as humans we are wired to look for breadcrumbs left behind by the culprit.
As highlighted within the documentary of R. Kelly’s evident examples of his behaviour within his musical and lyrical content, curiosity is getting the better of the gullible nature individuals depend on to uncover a deeper meaning — even if it means, helping profit the very individual we so detest.
Book Sales, Movies, Music, Art, what have you — take your pick, there are examples all across of how “controversy sells”.
In this very notion, controversy itself becomes fashionable; and the thirst for keeping up to date becomes an addiction — the ugly truth blinds the observers as they fall victim to the notion.
Uncovering pieces of information of their own as they swipe through album after album to find content which confirms their search for hidden meaning.
Many artists often thrive on this notion and often utilise it to their benefit, in hopes of creating a ripple effect that bounces off frequencies; despite the coverage, cheques are cashed in and hence the marketing theory “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”.
Sales will continue to spike, because curious as we all are and as irrelevant as R. Kelly’s musical career might have been in recent ages; many will look to figure out the man behind the character and in doing so will irreverently negate the severity with which those who have been abused, in their effort to bringing R. Kelly to justice.
In the court of public opinion and trial by media, R. Kelly is as guilty as O.J. Simpson; but at what cost?