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R Kelly’s “Black Panties” – Art or Pornography?

Brian C Scott December 9, 2013 Features, Spotlight No Comments

Move over Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus. You guys are so couple of months ago. Make way for the Pied Piper of R&B, Mr. R. Kelly. On Tuesday, December 10th, R. Kelly’s “Black Panties” is scheduled to drop. From the looks of the cover art released by the Pied Piper himself, it appears everything else but the panties has already dropped.

Much controversy surrounds the long awaited album, with much time having elapsed since the R&B crooner’s last release. Folks are in uproar about everything from the album’s title to the cover artwork, to the titles of the majority of the individual tracks on the album.

Everyone knows R. Kelly loves the ladies. He is also no stranger to controversy. As his “mother” said in an old Chappelle sketch, “that’s my Robert, always peeing on people.” Anyway, I digress. I don’t need to write about that here. What’s the fuss about this time, you ask? Let’s start with the cover art.

rkelly570x570

From the chatter on social media, it’s apparently arguable that the young woman in the cover art appears to be underage. Undoubtedly she isn’t a minor, and she isn’t technically bucket naked, but R. Kelly and negative perception regarding underage girls go together like chips and salsa. The fact that he appears to be playing the woman like a cello can have all kinds of symbolic connotations. I think we’ve all seen a lot worse cover art. Are we holding R to a double standard due to his past alleged transgressions?

 

Second, here’s the track list from Black Panties, which is it’s own commentary on controversy:

1. “Legs Shakin’” feat. Ludacris
2. “Cookie”
3. “Throw This Money on You”
4. “Prelude”
5. “Marry the Pussy”
6. “You Deserve Better”
7. “Genius”
8. “All the Way” feat. Kelly Rowland
9. “My Story” feat. 2 Chainz
10. “Right Back”
11. “Spend That” feat. Jeezy
12. “Crazy Sex”
13. “Shut Up”
Deluxe Version:
14. “Tear It Up” feat. Future
15. “Show Ya Pussy” feat. Migos and Juicy J
16. “Physical”
17. “Every Position”

I don’t know about you, but I need a cigarette now. And I don’t smoke.

Is this too much? Does this send the wrong message? Or is it simply art? Is the controversy much ado about nothing? We’ve all known for the longest time that Robert Kelly don’t see nothing wrong with a little bump and grind. Do you see anything wrong with the message that his album sends?

They say that art imitates life. Or is it that life imitates art? Either way, what is imitated here, or what could be imitated by others, is sure to brew up controversy for the foreseeable future. Controversy sells, though. Some would argue that this may be a desperate act on the aging artist’s part to remain relevant, but R. Kelly’s iconic status is no more in jeopardy than, say, Michael Jackson’s.

Or maybe that’s not the best example to use.

Brian C. Scott

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About The Author

Brian C Scott is the founder and Executive Editor of Culturocity. He is an author, poet and stage actor. He is a true lover of the arts in all forms, as well as a staunch advocate for the African American community. He is also a professional software engineer with over 24 years of industry experience. He holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Information Systems. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, he resides in Edmond, Oklahoma.

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