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R. Kelly finally talks in first post-trial interview

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R&B singer R. Kelly in Tuesday night's broadcast interview on the BET cable network.


The half-hour program on BET at 9 tonight was titled "R. Kelly Speaks." And he finally did -- the first public interview with the R&B superstar since a jury declared him not guilty of child pornography charges in a case that dragged on for seven years and finally reached a five-week trial in Chicago and concluded this summer.

The case began after a videotape allegedly showing Kelly having sex with an underage girl was delivered anonymously to Sun-Times pop music critic Jim DeRogatis in January 2001, and DeRogatis turned over the tape to authorities. (See a timeline and complete coverage of the trial.)

In tonight's pre-taped interview with BET News journalist Toure, Kelly addressed concerns about his lifestyle, his reactions to the verdict and the future of his music.

Watch clips from the interview here. Or watch the full interview below.

"To be honest, I felt like I was in jail the last seven years," Kelly said of the case. "A lot was taken away from me. ... It was hell. I wouldn't wish it on nobody." And near the end of the interview -- which Kelly seemed to call to a halt after mild exhaustion of the subject -- he added: "It's time for me to move on. I can't keep answering these questions. If you was charged with something and you were found innocent, then you can't be found guilty for being found innocent."

Toure began the proceedings in fawning mode, telling Kelly "your music is amazing" and applying other superlatives. But he eventually started asking some serious questions, like, "How nervous were you about [the trial] not going your way?" Kelly answered, "As hell."

The following is a transcript of the middle section of the interview dealing with the issues at the center of the trial:

Toure: Let me ask you something real that millions of Americans are thinking about and wondering about you. Do you like teenage girls?
Kelly: When you say teenage, how old are we talking?
Toure: Girls who are teenagers.
Kelly: 19?
Toure: 19 and younger.
Kelly: I have some 19-year-old friends, but I don't like anybody illegal if that's what we're talking about, underage.
Toure: Uh-huh. Some people think that you like underage girls. What do you say to that?
Kelly: Those people don't know Robert. They don't know me. I usually don't get into what people think about me, because all my career -- even before the trial -- people had their opinions about Robert, you know. That's probably because, it had a lot to do with me kind of shying away from the crowd, 'cause I'm always in the the studio, digging deep into the basement all the time of my house, creating music. So when people don't know you, they can't touch you like they could someone else. They seem to form opinions or have thoughts about you that they like to, you know, think.
Toure: Some of the people who've worked with you have said there's an issue here. Your former manager has said publicly there's an issue of concern here. Your brother Carey has said there's an issue of concern here.
Kelly: Issue of concern? What do you mean when you say issue of concern?
Toure: They said that they're concerned that you like underage girls.
Kelly: Let me put it to you this way, man. It's unfortunate that people who don't work for me says that the people that do work for me don't say that, and the people who don't work for me were fired. If you have someone work for you and they're mad 'cause they're not working for you anymore and used to getting a certain amount of money or a certain amount of fame because they work for you, because you're famous, and all of a sudden they mess you around and you let them go -- anything that comes up about you, they're gonna run and say, "Yeah, he did that to me! I knew this, too, about him." But you really can't, you know -- I don't want you, I want my fans: Do not list to the people that was fired. Don't even listen to the people that was hired. Listen to the facts, and get into what you think and make your own opinion. If you're gonna have an opinion about me, have your own opinion of what you think about me. What you definitely don't do is go by somebody that was fired and mad and pissed off about you because they were fired.
Toure: But your brother Carey was not fired. He's your brother.
Kelly: He was fired.
Toure: But he's still your brother.
Kelly: Doesn't matter. He's still my brother, but if he's so my brother [then] why'd he get fired?
Toure: Why did he get fired?
Kelly: I can't get into that. ... Unfortunately, it's like this: When you're me, when you're R. Kelly, everybody wants a piece of you, and if you don't give 'em a piece they'll find a way to get a piece of you one way or the other. I've been blackmailed a billion times in my career -- before the trial, during the trial, after the trial -- I've been sued for stuff that ... ridiculous things, you know. At one point in my life, I was an ATM machine, you know. People would come up and push whatever, and if it don't come out they'll go tell somebody this or they'll go run and say this, run and say that. I'm used to that. I'm, you know -- you don't get used to it. Let me take that back. I'm not used to it, but I'm used to the fact I know people will do this, sometimes even your own family members. I don't hate no one of 'em, but I know a lot of people will be out to get me 'cause I'm very vulnerable, man, especially during a seven-year trial.
Toure: So there's no issue here? They're all wrong, there's no issue here -- that's what you're saying?
Kelly: It depends on who you say "they're all," and what they're saying.

When Toure asked if the trial had impacted "the Kelly brand," the singer replied, "Hopefully in a good way. I was found innocent."

When asked if he would continue making music in the hyper-sexual style that put him on the top of the charts -- that is, would the trial make him hold back on future recordings -- Kelly said he would not allow the experience "to affect my gift." At the top of the interview, he compared himself to Marvin Gaye and Prince as artists who successfully mixed the sexual with loftier subjects in their music. He ended by comparing himself to a firefighter, duty-bound to keep running "into the fire" on behalf of others.

Kelly also mentioned that plans are under way for him to travel to Africa. He said he's had "a few tour offers" there, but that he hopes to expand the voyage to include "doing things -- humanity stuff."

The final words:

Toure: So this is over, the last time we're talking about it and this won't ever happen again -- is that what you're saying?
Kelly: This interview will never happen again.

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33 Comments

Enough. What's done is done, and can't be undone. He went to trial for his crimes, whether he is guilty or not, and he was found not guilty. What else is there to it? So stop hating on the guy and just leave it be.

A lot of us are so eager to cast the first stone when it comes to somebody else's wrong doing. But the fact is most of these people screaming "guilty" will not be found innocent afterall if their cladenstine and secret lives are to be brought under microscope.
This man had been subjected to the full process of the law and has been found not guilty, so why cant we just let the sleeping dog lie and allow this man to go ahead with his life? Even "if" he is actually guilty of the said crime, why cant we just hope the trauma of the 7-yr ordeal had taught him a hard lesson and made him a better man,just like the man said himself that it is like he's been in prison for the past 7 years. Michael Jackson was persecuted same manner and not until his death did some people finally let the man rest. I think America just need to let this guy be and leave the final judgement to GOD.

I am 39 years old. I have been with three men in their early 20's. Does this make me a bad person? I am attracted to younger men. I know not all women my age agree with it or feel the same way but that doesn't make it wrong. Just some thoughts about this as I can sort of relate.

I LOVE R.KELLY BUT AFTER I READ THAT HE HAS 19 YEAR OLD FRIENDS I REALLY THINK THAT SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THAT. I WISH THAT HE WOULD BE MINDFUL OF HIS WIFE AND HIS CHILDREN BEFORE HE MAKE STUPID REMARKS LIKE THAT ONE. IF YOU DON'T HAVE A PROBLEM ROBERT, WHY CAN'T YOU SOCIALIZE WITH PEOPLE YOUR OWN AGE. WITH A STATMENT LIKE THAT, I THINK THAT HE IS BEING FUNNY AND THAT HE REALLY WAS SLEEPING WITH TEENAGERS. P.S 19 IS STILL A TEENAGER SILLY. AND THIS COMES FROM HIS # 1 FAN.

Well said, Braxton!
If you don't like him, don't listen to him or buy his music!

Why don't you all get a life and let this man live his. I admit he does have a problem, but who are you, or you, or you over there to judge him. Are you perfect? If everything you've done in the dark came to light would we still like you. Let God judge him?

WELL WHERE DO YOU START. HE REALLY DOES HAVE ISSUES I THINK THAT HE REALLY DOES NEED SOME KIND OF HELP AND WHO ARE HIS PR PEOPLE BECAUE THEY HAVE ISSUES AS WELL WHY WOULD YOU LET YOUR CLIENT GO ON THE AIR DISCUSSING CERTAIN THINGS. IN MY OPINION THIS INTERVIEW WAS SET UP FOR FAILURE ON HIS BE HALF. MY THING IS THAT EVERYONE HAS AN OPPINION ON EVERYTHING BUT IN THIS CASE THERE HAS BEEN PROOF THAT HE HAS ISSUES (CASES SETTLED OUT OF COURT DEALING WIT THE SAME ISSUES).THAT GOES TO SHOW THAT MONEY CAN EITHER BUY YOUR WAY OUT OF TROUBLE OR PAY SOME ONE TO MAKE THEM GO AWAY. ANY TIME A MAN OVER 30 HAS FRIENDS WHO ARE 19 THAT IS SUSPECT WHAT DO THEY HAVE IN COMMON THAT WOULD BE QUESTIONS THAT I WOULD HAVE IF THEY WERE MY TEENAGE CHILDREN RATHER I THEY BE BOY OR GIRL. WE HAVE A LABEL THAT IS PUT ON CHILD PREDETORS IT SHOULD BE PLACED ON HIS HEAD AS WELL. THEY SAY THAT SOMETIMES VERY SMART PEOPLE TEATER ON THE BRINK OF INSANITY OR SOME BREAK IN REALITY CAUSING THEM TO TAKE ON SOCIOPATH TREATS. HE IS A VERY TALENTED GUY DONT GET ME WRONG BUT WHEN DOES TALENT OUT WAY COMMON SENSE AND WHAT IS RIGHT

hey guys is it me or the section where Toure asks him if he likes teenage girls missing from this clip? is sun times biased towards kelly? according to transcript the kely is supposed to answering the question about whether he likes teenage girls just before 5:53 where he starts to say "because all my career -- even before the trial -- people had their opinions about Robert, you know. That's probably because, it had a lot to do with me kind of shying away from the crowd, 'cause I'm always in the the studio,...." why was it removed from this footage? if im wrong can someone pls point out where that section is ?

R-Kelly is obviously a pervert -- but he isn't the worst.
the worst are the people who allowed/helped this filth to escape justice and the people who continue to buy his music and support this trashy devilish man.
how is it that, if anyone else had committed a crime like this and had been captured on film, years would not have been able to go by without them being hauled into the courtroom.
i don't beleive for a minute that Kelly had a fair trial. justice delayed is justice denied.
his lawyers were able to flim/flam the system, the judges allowed postponements, the prosecutors didn't call the victim to the stand, the parents were not made to answer hard questions about why they allowed their daughter to stay overnight with an old pervert or how they were compensated, ... i think all of these poeople -- including people in the judicial system, were on the take.
people want to think of the girl in the video as "fast" and deserving of that poor treatment and abuse. i have heard many chicagoans say that they heard the girl and her family god PAID by Kelly to keep quite, as if that makes everything alright.
fact is, the girl was pimped out by her parents who cared only for the money "R" was supplying them with, i bet. she needs deep psychological counseling because she was abused by R Kelly, betrayed by her parents and is now probably reluctant to state the truth because this would mean that her own family members would face criminal charges. the girl - now a grown woman -- is probably old enough to know what happend to her waas wrong, but doesn't have anyone who will really stand beside her and help her -- only her greedy relatives and people who tell her everything was her own fault. the girl probably figures that is was better to take the money and have some means of support for eyars to come as opposed to coming forth and ruining her reputation so much that no one would hire her and she would be all alone -- abandoned by her family who never cared about her anyway.
years ago, i saw Reverend Meeks, so-called advocate of Chicago's children, sitting next to R-Kelly during an interview supporting him and using his presence to cleanse Kelly of what he had done. but where are the people who are helping the child who was victimized by Kelly. no one cares. everyone is too busy counting their money.

Robert Kelly is a talented artist. There are a lot of real sexual predators out there. Maybe people should give more focus on the real bad guys. Last I heard having 19 year old friends is not a crime. And I’m sure those “friends” know exactly what they are doing.

i could not believe what he said. i looked and said why did he say that? then it came to me... to sell more records. he was found innocent, teens are the biggest fans.. 1 plus 1 in this case equals a million. he is a great entertainer truly and has the radio, TV and now even the internet as a stage.. Take a bow RKelly.. this drama is better than Trapped....

I Love R. Kelly!

R.Kelley, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE SHUT THE HELL UP......The minute you open your lieing mouth, you put your foot into it. You should walk around with a sign that reads INSERT HERE !. Your guilty and you know it. Its a shame that you can not take the ghetto out of some people....You have NO morals at all.......You always thought you were above the law because of who you are...Exactly who are you? YOUR A CHILD MOLESTER...Pure and simple truth......Just how you face people we will never understand. How mothers but there own daughters up for sale to you is totally disgusting. Shame on you..Your a PIG! PIG! PIG! PIG! May you rot in hell .

I bet a million dollars he paid off the girl and her family to deny everything. Yes it is sad people that money can buy your way out of everything....

I read the interview and comments. They were all interesting. I see everyone wants to judge R Kelly/Robert but the truth be told no one can judge this man because everyone has faults and ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE HIM. When the day is over the only person R Kelly/Robert needs to answer to is GOD not humankind.

I don't know if he's truly guilty but i feel like he obviously has issues. Remember the marriage to Aaliyah. He has issues just like Michael Jackson and similar artists. You can tell he has issues from his music. One song he's praising God, the next he's talking about being a sexasorous or sticking his key in someone's ignition. Unfortunately no one around him will probably encourage him to get the help he needs. Just because he was found not guilty at trial doesn't mean he isn't truly guilty. It could just mean they didn't have enough hard evidence. Happens all day, every day.

WOW! Everyone is being so judgemental. I have a few things to say.....as we can all tell, R. Kelly is not very eloquent in speaking however, it does not mean he was lieing. I have no strong opinion about if he did or did not do this, all I can go on is what the alledged victim says. And she says, it wasn't her. If things transpired like that when she was younger, she is now old enough to do the right thing and tell her story. I was told, "you can lead the cow to the water, but you can't make him drink it." She had perfect opportunity to say and/or do something if he indeed molested her. I put much blame on the parents if they allowed her to be around a grown man at that age. Some may say that we can't be around our children all the time, but at that age, why not? And even still, if we rear our children in a certain manner, that would be the least of our worries (our young ladies dancing, stripping, etc. for a grown man). I would NOT allow my daughter to be in that environment at all....not even with her own father! If he does have a problem, let's help to fix it......you can't throw rocks at a glass house. You may not be a pedophile or have these issues, but we all have SOME issues!

Be Blessed!

those 19 year old "friends" used to be 13, 14 & 15 years old, I wonder if any of you gullible pleople who continue to support this pathetic excuse for a Black man would trust him with YOUR teenage daughters.

Not guilty does not mean he's innocent.

He didn't compare himself to Prince and Marvin Gaye. Toure did. This newspaper is not unbiased in it's coverage of R. Kelly. I wish him the best!

People claim money this money that but Martha Stewart has money and still served time, so did Mike Tyson, Tupac, Lil Kim, Foxy Brown, and last but not least the executives at Enron. Get your facts straight people. R. Kelly has never been an eloquent speaker so don't try to use that in your baseless arguments. How can such a "scum" attract the naysers of his not guilty verdict to read a transcript or even watch the interview last night. Admit, he's got y'all hook regardless. Marinate on that as I fade to black....

This man is guilty! We should have a problem with a 40 year old man having 19 year old "friends". He is guilty, guilty, guilty...what a shame he got off. It's all good though, he'll have to answer for what he did one day. He'll slip up like OJ, lol!!!

Kelly may not have wanted to dwell on certain topics, but he was honest in his answers. Of course, some will never accept the verdict, but the legal process did play out and he won. People are drawn to him. Just look at how fixated the Sun Times is by putting this interview front and center on its website. Where's Jim in this?

Notice how he stumbled on the "do you like teenage girls" question? What's with the hesitance?

"If you was charged with something and you were found innocent, then you can't be found guilty for being found innocent." well maybe not in court, but in the hearts and minds of mostly everybody else GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY.

We know this man is not too bright, but he is not even smart enough to hide the fact that he is a pedophile. What average 40-something year-old has 19 year old friends? PERVERT!!

Jigga, Kelly...NOT GUILTY!


They don't know ROBERT! Only God can judge us.

Dude has great talent, but I wouldn't want him around my daughter.

Thoughts? The guy is pedofile scum.
He got lucky on 1 trial.
If you tried him for all his other assaults he'd be sharing space with Gary Glitter.

A genuine act of contrition? Well it's over now. Like the man said, time to move on.

Not Guilty!

It's a amazing that people let it slide like it's OK. If you grew up in the Chicago area during the late 90's you've probably seen him a couple times at your local high school. Get the man some help.

Just like with OJ, money, money, money won out.

I hope someday i get to urinate on someone he loves

One word: GUILTY

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