Author Earl Ofari Hutchinson, in a column at The Daily Voice, suspects R. Kelly has a financial backup plan in case of a conviction: "Here's a bet. Accused child pornographer and sexual panderer R. Kelly has three albums in the can ready for release. If Kelly is convicted of the multiple counts slapped against him in his Chicago trial, the albums will fly out the can fast and even faster off the store racks. Kelly's well documented penchant for underage teens, and his boasts and taunts in his songs, topped by the very real possibility that he had sex on the homemade, smutty videotape with a very underage teen, mean little to his legions of devoted fans."
His first claim may not be off the mark. Sun-Times pop music critic Jim DeRogatis has noted before that nearly every time the Kelly trial seemed about to start during the last five years, the incredibly prolific R&B star has released new music. Before jury selection began this month, radio picked up his now ubiquitous new single "Hair-Braider" (listen).
But the second claim is more slippery: Can we claim that people who buy his records are truly indifferent to Kelly's alleged crimes? Perhaps many are simply uninformed — or, more likely, maybe an artist's personal woes just don't trump good music (subjective, I know). Granted, the O.J. Simpson book didn't exactly fly off the shelves, but Michael Jackson's income only started dipping when his albums started sucking, not as an immediate result of his own child sex trial.