If you’ve been on Twitter today, July 23rd, then you may have noticed that R. Kelly is trending—and no, it’s not because his past has finally caught up to him. The singer is currently in the spotlight because he addressed the sexual misconduct claims against him in a bizarre new 19-minute song called “I Admit.” But contrary to what you might expect from the title, the track does not include Kelly owning up to any alleged abuse.
For those who may not know, R. Kelly has been accused of sexual assault and abuse numerous times over the course of his career, and has been tried for making child pornography with underage teenage girls. Most recently, one of his ex-girlfriends, Kitty Jones, came forward in a BBC documentary and alleged that the singer “groomed” her as well as many other much younger women (some as young as 14 years old), to pleasure him sexually.
In the song, Kelly addresses many things we’ve heard about him, from the lesser, like his alleged illiteracy, to the major: his alleged abuse of teenage girls. And instead of taking accountability for any of the accusations leveled against him, he provides an “explanation” and defense for his actions.
He admits to having relations with “older and younger ladies,” but maintains that he’s not a pedophile.
He also addresses the recent accusations that he grooms and controls women who live in his home.
Kelly sees himself as a victim of media spin, as well as “greedy” women and families. He sings, “And if you really, really wanna know/ Her father dropped her off at my show/ And told this boy to put her on stage/ I admit that she was over age/ I admit that I was feelin’ her and I admit that she was feelin’ me/ I admit that that’s the sh– that comes with/ being a celebrity/ I ain’t chasing these ladies/ These ladies are chasing me, yeah.”
It’s disheartening—and enraging—to hear how little remorse or accountability R. Kelly takes for the many accusations leveled against him by so many women. His grasp and acknowledgement of issues like consent, power dynamics, and rape culture are non-existent, and this is more proof than ever that our culture has more work to do when it comes to abuse and harassment. If you want to hear the song in full, you can listen here.