Pop-Interviews Volume 02 (German Edition)
Reed also addressed criticism that his film is one-sided and fails to include interviews with friends and colleagues of Jackson. At the time of the alleged assaults, Jackson was one of the top acts in music, a money-maker who was never without an entourage of handlers and servants. Winfrey and others expressed disbelief that no one else knew what was going on.
Both Robson and Safechuck said it took them years to come to grips with what happened to them as children. Robson suffered two nervous breakdowns and Safechuck had insomnia and depression. And yet their feelings toward Jackson are complicated. They still admire his music and Safechuck, who seemed to be the more vulnerable of the two men, still grapples with guilt after going public with his claims.
The documentary has thrust the two men and their families back into the public spotlight. However, Robson and Safechuck were warmly received by an audience that had suffered similar traumas. First of all, before anything else, I want to talk with him about his childhood, and in particular some tough aspects of it that seem central to whom he has become. For one thing, his inability to read. My stepfather wasn't really interested in it one way or another.
And my brothers and sisters were so young at the time they wouldn't do nothing but tease me about it. You can't even read! It was so confusing. And then I would end up getting really sleepy and tired. Reading remains a struggle. And I can voice-text and say whatever I want to people. And then they text me back and I take my time and I can read through it. Early on, Kelly faced other challenges. He grew up without a father, gone before Kelly was born, and his mother wouldn't talk about him. My father. I would definitely say it affected me deeply as a young man, coming up.
Who doesn't want a father? Those are the beginnings, and those are what can dictate the roads you choose in life, and choosing them well. And it affected me. Kelly had a deep, close relationship with his mother, but he says even she never knew everything that was going on in her young son's turbulent life. He says that until he mentioned it in his memoir, Soulacoaster, he had never told anyone at all about the sexual abuse that he experienced. Not even his ex-wife Andrea? The more I became successful. Kelly the world would know—the one who would sell more than 30 million albums, have 36 Billboard Hot hits, invent his own strange musical language, write hits for countless others, and conceive one of the weirdest syntheses of video and music of all time, Trapped in the Closet —would be someone else.
In the book, he describes a number of premature sexual experiences, including an approach by a trusted family friend, a man, who he says tried to persuade Kelly to masturbate him for money, which Kelly says he rebuffed. Contact sexual—no. A visual—absolutely. A visual from him showing me his penis and all that stuff. I tried to push her away, but she wouldn't stop until she was finished. The book says nothing about how this woman was connected to Kelly, other than implying that she was a regular presence in their home, but while we talk he refers to her as a relative. He doesn't say this as though he expects it to be any kind of revelation to me, more as though he assumes I already know it.
I wonder if he even realizes she wasn't described like that in the book. I remember feeling ashamed. I remember closing my eyes or keeping my hands over my eyes. I remember those things, but couldn't judge it one way or the other fully. And did that change over time? I remember actually, after a couple of years, looking forward to it sometimes. You know, acting like I didn't, but did. How often would the abuse happen? It became a regular thing. Every other day, every other week. How many years did it go on for?
Something like that.
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Did anything in particular make it stop? Then I started getting older and knowing that's just not supposed to happen—family members. And I think it started getting scary for them because I just started acting really different about it, and I think it became a turnoff to them, and a scary thing. I'm still successful, and I've got an album out now, I'm gonna move on after this interview and go to the next interview. How long ago was that? Didn't want to talk about it.
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Didn't own up to it. But it was definitely not a dream. What do you think now about what they did? As I'm older, I look at it and I know that it had to be not just about me and them, but them and somebody older than them when they were younger, and whatever happened to them when they were younger. I looked at it as if there was a sort of like, I don't know, a generational curse, so to speak, going down through the family. Not just started with her doing that to me. Let's take a moment here to acknowledge, even amid the sad sobriety of what Kelly is discussing, just how staggeringly odd this moment is: R.
Kelly, a man who has been accused of multiple sexual offenses against underage girls, has just explained that he believes the sexual abuse he suffered is something that is passed down from generation to generation, so that in each new generation, victim becomes perpetrator. Once he has said these words, and they are hanging in the air between us, it just seems impossible to imagine that he won't at least address the obvious question—the question, he must surely realize, that anyone reading this would immediately ask: By that logic, wouldn't that make you the next in the cycle of child molesters?
If only to disavow it or sidestep it. But he says nothing. I know I'll need to return to this, but given the awfulness of what he is sharing, now is not the time. Obviously you know that in the cold light of day what they were doing was a crime. Do you wish they had been held to account for that? As I'm older, I've only learned to forgive it. Was it wrong? But it's a family member that I love so I would definitely say no to that one. I believe a common reaction in such situations is to be angry about losing an innocence that shouldn't have been lost.
Do you relate to that? It teaches you to definitely be sexual earlier than you should have, than you're supposed to. You know, no different than putting a loaded gun in a kid's hand—he gonna grow up being a shooter, probably. I think it affects you tremendously when that happens at an early age. To be more hornier. Your hormones are up more than they would normally be. Mine was. And do you think that set you on a path that you kept on? In a lot of ways, absolutely. I think so. And now here we are. There are no particularly easy ways to ask a man about his alleged relationships with underage girls, but at least the story of R.
Kelly and Aaliyah offers a reasonably direct way in. Soon after his initial success, he began writing and producing songs for other artists. As he explains it to me, it wasn't some big plan:. I was making my own records and doing all the music—I didn't even know that that meant producing. Then when I found out I could do that, I didn't just want to make myself great, I wanted to make others great.
One of the first artists he would produce, and one of his big early successes, was his manager's teenage niece, Aaliyah. In Kelly's case it was They appeared together in interviews and videos. Then Vibe magazine printed what appeared to be a marriage certificate they had discovered that showed Kelly and Aaliyah had been married in Rosemont, Illinois, on August 31, Though she was 15, the certificate stated that she was The marriage reportedly was formally annulled some months later, Aaliyah and Kelly never worked together again, and they were never seen together after this period.
Aaliyah died in a plane crash after a video shoot in the Bahamas when she was Neither Kelly nor Aaliyah, before her death, has ever publicly confirmed these details, but their truth has never been credibly challenged; even in the Lifetime channel's carefully sanitized Aaliyah biopic, her father threatens to have Kelly charged with statutory rape. The fullest version of what may have happened—and the most convincing one, for all its incidental detail and accidental nuance—is in a rambling memoir by a man named Demetrius Smith, who worked in various capacities for Kelly before and after he became famous, until they had a falling out.
The week of the marriage, Smith recounts being in Miami on tour with Kelly, and how Kelly explained that he had received a distraught phone call from Aaliyah, saying she had run away from home, believing she was pregnant. Smith says that Kelly was then given some specious advice—that he could protect himself from the legal ramifications of the situation by marrying her.
Smith's account of what happened next: During a break in the tour, Smith and Kelly flew together to Illinois; Smith procured a fake state ID for Aaliyah from a friend in the Public Aid office, and they got a backup ID through someone they knew at Federal Express. That night, after the ceremony in a suite at a Sheraton hotel, Kelly and Smith flew back to Miami to resume the tour. As complicated as the full story may be, the situation, as it reflects on Kelly now, is fairly simple. He either was or was not married to, and in a sexual relationship with, a year-old girl.
If he wasn't, why not just say so? What possible reason could there be for refusing to? I heard first of all this soft voice, but very…a lot of charisma. And I saw her as a star the minute I heard her sing and dance. Saw her dance. She wasn't the greatest dancer, but the dance moves she was doing were different than the other dancers that I've seen on television.
How would you describe that? Deep friends. As far as we both loved music and wanted to be successful. It was just so much in common with each other. And these are difficult questions but would you say you were in love with her? I would say I loved 'liyah. I was in love with my grandfather, you know. But yeah, I would say I was in love with Aaliyah just like I was in love with anybody else.
But in a different, friend type of way. And she was in love with you? I would say that. As you know, people know that there was a wedding ceremony and you got married. Out of respect for Aaliyah, and her mother and father who has asked me not to personally. But I can tell you I loved her, I can tell you she loved me, we was very close.
We were, you know, best best best best friends. But here's what seems difficult from the outside. Sadly, Aaliyah can't speak for herself, and people have what they think is a very clear idea of the situation—that the two of you got married, that you were having a sexual relationship. Right now, that's the record as far as people are concerned. Those are the facts. So you not talking about it doesn't feel like it's protecting her or respecting her, it just feels like it's protecting you.
You know, I tell you this: I know Aaliyah's not here and can't speak for herself, but there was a time that she was plenty here, after that rumor and all of that stuff started. Plenty grown. She was 22 and could speak for herself. Her mother, her father, anybody else, could speak and say whatever they wanted. But with the documentary evidence, it doesn't seem an unclear situation.
I'm trying to understand your life, and if you explained the real situation, it would maybe make people understand better than the version they have at the moment. Sometimes you have to sacrifice yourself in a way to respect someone else's wishes, and to respect someone else's passing…. I'm still successful, and I've got an album out now, I'm gonna move on after this interview and go to the next interview and do another interview, and these questions are going to be asked.
I did the best I could by writing my book and putting it out there for whoever wants to read about Robert. I wish that I could.
Did you do anything in that situation that you feel bad about or you feel was wrong? Absolutely not. That's my answer forever: Absolutely not. Kelly's career thrived through the rest of the '90s and into the new century. Few conversations with him leave any doubt about how significant he feels his achievements are. What is surprising, then, is that when I later try to talk with him in more detail about his musical career, he often seems to have only the most spotty and rudimentary familiarity with what he has done.
At one point I ask him—purely to ease into the subject—which of his albums he thinks most perfectly realizes who R. Kelly is. This is his answer:. I think it's my second album. I don't know if that's the R. But he's still not quite sure. It began as an onstage improvisation while he was on tour; the audience reaction told him he had hit on a winning formula. You know, three times as good.
It established a narrative where there would be two distinct types of R. Kelly albums. And then there would be his other albums. In practice, Kelly has been pretty undisciplined about maintaining any kind of clear dividing line between the two. Often the sex albums have songs that are completely off-topic the first single from TP The first ripple of what was to come was a story in the Chicago Sun-Times at the end of , revealing that Kelly had settled a lawsuit with a woman who claimed to have had sex with him when she was 15, and reporting that this was only one example of a pattern of behavior.
Other lawsuits followed, and videos purporting to show Kelly having sex with various women were widely available for sale on the streets. The man looked extraordinarily like R. Kelly, and the location bore an extraordinary resemblance to the wood-paneled basement of the house where Kelly lived at the time. In June , Kelly was indicted for making child pornography.
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Surreally, the guitarist credited on the record was the father of the girl. From then on, Kelly's career seemed to continue, virtually unaffected by his continuing real-life problems. And despite advice from his lawyers, plenty of the songs he released in this era were as provocatively sexual as anything he'd ever done.
He refused to back down. Why wouldn't I just do what I do? It's what I've always done.
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The case took six years to go to trial. When it finally did, the girl whom the prosecutors had identified declined to cooperate, as did her parents. All three had apparently denied to a grand jury that it was her in the video, though a number of close relatives and school friends testified otherwise. Kelly likewise exercised his right not to testify. In Soulacoaster, Kelly says that at the start of the trial, the prosecutors offered him a deal: Plead guilty and serve only eight months behind bars.
Kelly's attorneys and his business manager advised him to take it. Otherwise he was looking at 15 years.
He refused. His confidence, or faith, or stubbornness, turned out to be well placed. In June , a jury found him not guilty. The easiest way to achieve this is to do a set or two of each exercise using very light weights, warming up the key muscles used. This will let you nail your first set proper when the time comes, as well as reducing your risk of injury. Why The incline version of the move puts a slightly different emphasis on your muscles, working the front shoulders a bit more than the flat version does. Why This move works the opposing muscles to the incline bench press.
Having a strong back improves your posture, which will allow you to lift heavy weights safely and also reduce your chances of injury. How Hold the bar with a shoulder-width grip, bending your knees slightly.
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Pull the bar up to touch your sternum and then lower under control. Why This is similar to the barbell version but it allows you to squeeze a bit more work out of your muscles safely once you have completed the previous exercise. It will also challenge the stabilising muscles around the shoulder joint. Lower the weights to chest height, keeping your elbows close to your sides, then press back up to the start. Why This isolation move works one side of your body at a time, and allows you to shift more weight.
How Set up with one knee resting on a bench and the other foot on the floor, leaning forwards slightly and holding a dumbbell in one hand. Row the dumbbell up until your thumb touches your armpit, then lower back to the start. Complete all the reps on one side, then switch. Why The aim of this superset is to work both the front and back of your thighs. Squat down, keeping your chest up, then drive up through your heels to stand.
Why This develops your glutes and hamstrings, areas that most men would benefit from strengthening. The movement, essentially a hip hinge, has a huge positive carry-over to everyday activity. How Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a barbell with an overhand grip just outside your thighs. With a slight bend in your knees, bend forwards from the hips and lower the bar down the front of your shins until you feel a good stretch in your hamstrings.
Push your hips forwards to reverse the move to the start.