The Case Against R. Kelly

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Support for this podcast and the following message come from frame bridge. They make custom framing easy and affordable frame. Your art in photos at frame bridge dot com or visit their new stores located on fourteenth street and Bethesda row. Get fifteen percent off your first frame bridge order with code NPR from WHYY in Philadelphia. I'm Terry gross with fresh air today, the case against R Kelly, we talk with reporter and music critic, Jim Dora goddess who broke the story in two thousand that the R N B star was sexually abusing underage girls fourteen months into his reporting on the story for the Chicago sun times, an anonymous caller told her, regardless to check his home mailbox. So I went to the mailbox and there was a Manila envelope with a videotape. No markings on either I, I watch, I knew right away what it was gonna be. It was the now infamous sex video that led to charges of making child pornography. Durra goddess has spent. Two decades investigating Kelly, and now has a new book last week. Kelly was indicted, on eleven new counts of sexual assault and abuse also Maureen Corrigan reviews, an autobiographical novel. She calls dazzling by Vietnamese American writer ocean flown last week. Aren be star R Kelly was charged with eleven new counts of sexual assault and sexual abuse. In two thousand my guest Jim dura goddess broke the story of how Kelly used his fame to get girls in their early teens to have sex with him through a goddess started his investigation after he received an anonymous facts alleging Kelly had sex with underage girls at the time. Dear goddess was the pop music critic for the Chicago sun times. He teamed up with the papers legal reporter AbdIn palace, and they followed up on the leads in the facts there, I R Kelly article was published in the Chicago sun times in December two thousand in early two thousand and two. Dura goddess received a very disturbing sex tape of Kelly and a fourteen year old girl that now infamous tape, which Kelly made let him to be indicted on twenty one counts of child pornography and tried on fourteen counts. A jury found him not guilty which enabled Kelly to continue his successful music, career and continued to prey on girls. Meanwhile, dura goddess continued his investigation talking to other women who had been victims, as well as families of girls Kelly sexually assaulted, and 2017 Durra, goddess published a story about how our Kelly led. What was essentially a sex cult in which girls were prevented from leaving or from communicating with their families. Now to regardless has written a new book called Solis the case against our Kelly. Dur goddess is the co host of the public radio show and podcast sound, opinions and teaches at Columbia college Chicago. Jim. Gender got us. Welcome to fresh air, and congratulations on the year of reporting that you spent on the story. So thank you. Let's start with the new criminal charges against our Kelly. What are they? Kelly was charged with ten counts of sexual assault stemming from three new victims and a videotape. The dates from the time of the original tape that got him indicted in two thousand two and then they added several more charges eleven more charges to one of the victims. She first broke her nondisclosure agreement with Kelly in speaking to me for BuzzFeed news in August twenty seventeen. She was fifteen years old, and cutting high school classes to attend Kelly's trial, and he began sexual contact with are not long after he was acquitted. And this is the woman identified as j peony indictment. But, you know, it's Doron pace, Rhonda. Yes, she was your Andre Johnson, when she was a teen. She's Gironde pace now very brave, young woman mother of three. So these are charges against him for aggravated criminal assault. So he not only had sex with the young women. He assaulted some of. Them. What was the nature of some of the assaults it was coercing, these young women to pleasure him? You know, the problem with the Illinois charges is they barely scratched the surface of thirty years of crimes by Kelly, you know, which, which is this was never a book, I wanted to write this was a dark and horrible place to live. But I think even with all of the discussion that's following a surviving R Kelly you, you interviewed dream Hampton. You know, we are not realizing that this behavior of pursuing young girls, and, you know, sexually assaulting them begins in nineteen Ninety-one and is continuing right now, as you and I are talking, you know, there were two young women nineteen and twenty two with him at Trump Tower Chicago, where he's residing and, you know, they're, they're physically and mentally abused, if they break his rules, according to other women who witness. I it who broke away from him. It, it it's horrifying. You know, this has happened in full view of the world for thirty years while he sold one hundred million albums, and, you know, open the Winter Olympics, and it all happened as everybody watched, and nobody did anything, so it wasn't just sexual assault. He physically battered, some of the women who yes, some, some of the girls he was. Yeah, I spoke to domini Gardner, and, you know, the, the world wanted to know what happened to her after she split from Kelley. She was with him from for nine years begins as a seventeen year old shortly after his acquittal in two thousand eight and she broke her silence and spoke to me for the first time in the New Yorker, this forty eight women whose names. I know that he's abused. You know. And she said, you know, I loved him and he loved me and when it was good, Jim it was perfect. But yes, he beat me with an extension cord and yes, he choked me. And yes, he starved me. And yes, he tried. To break me down. And I think, you know, we still don't really understand this weird power and charisma of this man. This super predator, you know, there's the music there's the fame, there's, there's all this allure of being next are Kelly. Many of these women almost all of them wanted to be singers. He was going to make them a star. Like he did with the Leah who he married when she was fifteen but above and beyond that Dominic Gardner looked at me and the fourth or fifth time took her nine months of me communicating with her. She would always text me Email me. Call me. I never twisted her arm. And she finally said, I'm ready to talk on the record. I'm only going to do it with you, Jim. Let's talk about how you started investigating the ARA Kelly story. You got a one page facts, November of two thousand what did that fact say? Terry. You know, the Wednesday before thanksgiving two thousand I got I got fax it said, I'm sending this to you, Mr. dear goddess because I don't know where else to go. I had written a record review of Kelly's fifth out teepee to dot com. And, and you know, this is almost cliche, I'm sorry to admit it. I was saying, you know, the juxtaposition between Kelly's hot and horny bedroom jams and his tearful pleas to the Lord for forgiveness. We're so jarring, they could cause you whiplash this, of course, is a trope in our and be, you know, the Reverend Al green and prince and Marvin Gaye, sex and salvation, it's a fine line. And the, the anonymous writer, I do not know to this day, who this was, and I certainly tried hard to find out said, I, quote, I guess Marvin Gaye had problems too. But I don't think they were like Roberts. I've known Robert for many years. And I've tried to get him to get help, but he just won't do it. I'm telling you about it hoping that you or someone at your newspaper will write an. Article and then Robert will have no choice but to get help Marvin Gaye had his problems, but Robert's problem and this is the thing that goes back many years is young girls. So this had been a rumor Terry, I feel guilty that when I began reporting this story with AbdIn palace my colleague at the sun times, in November, two thousand we were already more than nine years late. You know the first sexual contact with teenagers as documented in Tiffany Hawkins is lawsuit begins in nineteen Ninety-one, and he marries a Lia in nineteen ninety four when she is fifteen illegally. You know that this was everybody from the tape. Operators at recording studios and the junior under assistant midwest. Promo people, you know, at the labels to the president of jive records. Clive colder. They all knew about this. There were lawsuits being filed and they were being named as a party, the recording companies the managers. Yeah. And I threw that facts in the slush pile, Terry. But I, I went I went home, and I had thanksgiving long weekend and something about it bothered me. I just I just read that passage to you. I'm hoping Robert will have to get help. I didn't think that a random hater which show that kind of compassion, and they were a lot of details names and dates and tax. There were leads in the facts. Yeah. There was substantive. What are some of the leads in the facts? The main one is, you know, there was a lawsuit filed by young girl named Tiffany Hawkins. They had the date wrong. They said nineteen Ninety-seven it was nineteen Ninety-six. I think if we had not found that lawsuit, which had been filed on Christmas Eve nineteen Ninety-six AbdIn, and I would have never started six weeks of eighteen hour days of reporting. But the thing that really got me was, you could call sergeant choosy of the Chicago police. She's the one who was in charge of investigating Robert so that whole long weekend. Thanksgiving. I'm cursing myself. I didn't bring this fax home. So I could reread it. I go back into the office and I really looked at this facts, and I called D switchboard. And I asked for sodden Juzic, I spelled it off the facts and they said, we don't have anybody with that name and I almost hung up and I said, deep have anybody with a similar polish surname in sex crimes in in and suddenly, there's a pause and get connected and a woman picks up the phone chizevsky special investigations. And I said, I'm Jim dear got us. I'm calling from the sometimes about the investigation into our Kelly, and she says, and this is like one of those moments in my life that I will never forget. Oh, I was wondering how long it would be before somebody called me about that. I can't talk to you and hung up that was code for. There's a hell of a story here and Iran to see metro editor, Don Hainer, and it all starts there. So your colleague who cover legal issues at the sun times have been pallet teamed up with you. And he knows how to research stuff in the legal system, and he found the filing for this lawsuit is like over two hundred pages of documents in pages, and he copied them and you had that as background. So where did that lead you? There were many witnesses named in the lawsuit, you know, AbdIn started digging around in court and talking to investigators I started talking to everybody named on the witness list. And the two of us kind of as white as white guys get begin ringing doorbells throughout the south and west sides of the city and the thing that was extrordinary to us is, you know, we continually were invited into people's homes and people were continually. They were not surprised that we're asking about our Kellyanne underage girls. They're inviting us in and saying, no one has ever wanted to listen to us. Thank you for caring. See knocking on doors whose doors you're knocking on life you weren't knocking randomly on doors. What leads did you have? No right direction. There were a couple of dozen names on the witness list for the Hawkins case. And, you know there had been apparently a deposition, we learned later seven and a half hours of her being grilled by Kelly's attorneys now that was public record. But it to this day has disappeared from the legal files. Cook County court is notorious for being I just a cesspool where things go missing. And things are misfiled, and we were lucky we found two hundred and thirty five pages of the Hawkins case, the deposition is missing there were no other depositions. So we began doing what a lawyer would have done and asking these people, what they were going to say, and they're telling us see you met the aunt of the girl described in the fact as the girl that Kelly called his goddaughter, but he was really having sex. With her. So the aunt's name was Stephanie Edwards. But professionally, and then personally, she's known as sparkle, and she actually introduced are Kelly to her niece when her niece was twelve her niece's name is Shona. We're Shona land fair. Yeah. She was racked by guilt. But by that as was Kelly's manager Barry hanker Sohn for introducing Kelly to his niece, Eliya, and both of them were thinking, oh, R Kelly will help you know, our nieces with their careers, and they became his sexual he sexually abused them as minors. Yeah, I mean, no two ways about it, and they were already at the end of a of a long number by that point. It was it was more than a dozen according to the lawsuits that were filed by Tiffany Hawkins. And the other women, you know, see you find out about this girl who has just who Kelly was describing his daughter. The police told you they'd interviewed her twice, and she denied having any type of sexual encounter with him. Her parents wouldn't talk to the police. How did that figure into how you weighed what you were told by her aunt, you know, we did not mention any of the relationship stuff. It's not a relationship it's illegal sexual contact. We did not mention the illegal sexual contact in our first story, December twenty one two thousand because the land fair family would not talk to us and sparkle had been, elliptical, I introduced my niece to Kelly, I split from Kelley. She's still hanging around. I don't think it's a good idea. But I'm not her mother or whatever I mean he's talking about her sister. We knew this was happening. We, we had her eighth grade in high school freshman yearbook pictures, two weeks after story number one December twenty one two thousands. The first story two weeks later, I got a videotape. Fedex to me at the sun times. It was Kelly having sex with a young woman. We had these this collection at this point. So said to say in a Manila folder of yearbook pictures in eighth grade school photos. It was none of those girls, we tried for two weeks to report out who that. Girl was using a discrete headshot to this day. She's never been identified way after understand, is Chicago was lousy on the streets as they say with videotapes of Kelly having sex with young women. Some of the miners, so the tape that got him indicted didn't come to me till February two thousand two so I want to get back to talking about the process of reporting the story, so it's very interesting process and also very challenging one personally, legally journalistically, so the first sentence of your very first story about our Kelly reads, Chicago singer, and songwriter are Kelly used his position of fame and influence as a pop superstar to meet girls as young as fifteen and have sex with them, according to court records and interviews. So you expect it a really big reaction. What was the reaction you got deafening? Silence. And condemnation condemned by. Black radio condemned. Talk radio and the music stations. Condemned by by the black community condemned by Reverend Jesse Jackson. There are bigger problems in the world than our Kelly condemned by the Baptist power structure. We got a lot of hate mail. There was an extraordinary columnists, and she still hard at it at what's left of the Chicago Sun-Times. Mary Mitchell, I was a little scared. Mary, Mary was eight fierce for Rochas advocate for black women, and Mary didn't try full, you know, with the pop music critic, and, and as, as well can holes of the sun to is the woman who at age forty one after raising three kids in the projects goes back to college becomes journalists Columbia, college Chicago, where I teach now becomes journalists at the sun times becomes a member of the editor, -ill Boorda columnist, Mary, stops, and gives me a hug, and says, as a good story you guys too good. And. She wrote twenty eight columns in the first two years of our Kelly reporting because she wanted the black community to stand up and pay attention for its daughters. You know. Yes, he is a black superstar a hero. Don't the girls matter? So how long did it take until you got the second video second video was fourteen months after story. Number one, it showed up on the first Friday of February two thousand two and describe what you saw in that video. That is the worst thing I've ever had to witness in my life, which is why I'm going to say to our listeners. This is a very disturbing video. You might have already heard the details of you might not have, but it's in very upsetting video video. So this is a warning to listeners, and especially to parents of young children who may be listening now. So I had heard about this thing. And as soon as I, I was working in my office at home transcribing an interview with the leash aquis and the phone rang, and I did that, you know, I'm too busy for this journalists thing. Dear goddess go to your mailbox. Oh. Go to your mailbox Godia mailbox hung up. So I went to the mailbox and there was a Manila envelope with a videotape. No markings on either popped it toys story to out of my daughter's VCR. She was at school. I, I watch, I knew right away what it was going to be, and it twenty six minutes, and thirty nine seconds, which is the length of a sitcom, you know, which which is forever when you are watching something as disturbing as Kelly having sex with a fourteen year old telling her what to do how to perform for him dance for him urinate for him. Open your mouth, he urinate deplores himself on her. He calls her by name e. Yeah. I was horrifying, and it goes on and on and on and on. And he adjusts the camera's he checks the. I mean he's directing this scene. And this girl has the disembodied look of a rape victim. I was horrifying Terry. I it's a rape and you're witnessing rape. So this is more evidence for you in your investigation. It's also criminal evidence, a new and your writing partner of been palace, and your editors decided to hand the tape over to the police while you continue to investigate the story. How did you decide to do do that? Because a lot of people would say you're journalist, it's your job to cover the story, not to become involved in the investigation, and give evidence to the police. You know, we saw it as evidence of a felony and child pornography is such a toxic crime that for us to have watched it, or touched it or copied it, we were committing a felony. But more importantly, if this girl is continuing to be hurt. We cannot not act here now when we had this conference, we had it about the first video tape because we didn't know if that was a minor. We'd had this conversation in January two thousand one so we'd crossed that Rubicon and were condemned to this day by some journalism professors for having given the first tape to police, the second tape we didn't waste a lot of time talking about it. You know, this was much clearer that this needed to be in the hands of police, we did not tell them we knew who the girl was. We didn't tell them where it had come from because I don't know to this day where it came from. Who the source that delivered? It was we didn't tell them anything. We just said, this is evidence of a crime, you need to have it. My guest is reporter and music critic, Jim dura goddess, author of the new book Solis, the case against our Kelly after a break will talk about how Kelly silenced his victims and why many of them spoke with irregardless and marine Corrigan will review a new autobiographical novel by ocean Vong about a young Vietnamese immigrant. I'm Terry gross. And this is fresh air. This message comes from NPR sponsor Capital, One capital. One wants to build a better Bank, one that feels and acts nothing like a typical Bank, so they're reimagining banking. They offer a great savings rate and accounts with no fees, or minimums, that can be opened from anywhere in five minutes. That's banking. Reimagined Capital One. What's in your wallet Capital, One in a, let's get back to my interview with reporter and pop music critic, Jim? Dura goddess author of the new book Solis the case against our Kelly, so there were fourteen counts against R Kelly and he was found not guilty on all fourteen. What do you attribute that to since? I mean, there was a videotape, now the young girl in the video, did not come forward. Her parents had not come forward. Her aunt sparkle did testify at life. Yeah. There were fifteen witnesses for the state who testified that the girl was the girl and Kelly was Kelly, and they knew about this relationship starting with RA Shona land fares, and sparkle and her uncle. And, you know, the wife, who happened to be a Chicago cop her basketball coach. Some of her best friends, the best friend's parents. The jury heard all of this evidence, but Rashawn land, fair, her mother and father never testified, and there is another videotape of Rashawn with Kelly. That is part of. The current Illinois indictment, she is still according to my sources, my understanding the prosecution not cooperating with the state of Illinois. It's the same story again, as two thousand eight the trial took six years to go to trial between indictment and trial broke every record and Cook County and throughout that time, judge Vincent going methodically ruled in favor of the defense on myriad, motions, he would not allow any evidence of the three civil lawsuits brought by underage girls against Kelly of the legal age woman who sued Kelly for videotaping her without her knowledge, having sex with him of the Eliya thing of any payments that were made to the family of the girl on the videotape of any pattern of, of buying women's silence with nondisclosure agreements in, in return for payments, the judge made. The many crimes that Kelly had committed since nineteen Ninety-one in two thousand eight by the time it went to court, he made it about one girl on one video, and she didn't testify near the dinner, mother and father. And although the jury all believed that it was Kelly in that tape because they never heard from victim. They acquitted it was also Father's Day weekend, and they didn't want to be success tred over the holiday. You mentioned payments to the parents of the girl in the video. Do you have evidence at our Kelly paid the parents to not speak about the video? I don't report that in the book, and I don't know for a fact and to this day, you know. No, I cannot prove that many sources say that the family was paid off, what the book, does Terry is thirty years of Kelly using this tool that Harvey Weinstein used the nondisclosure agreement. I will give you money in exchange for you promising never to tell your truth. It was an effective tool that he used for thirty years to silence women he'd hurt. I cannot prove that he paid witnesses but the federal investigation that's ongoing. The federal grand jury that sitting in the northern district of Illinois is hearing obstruction of Justice, aka payoff evidence. In addition to sex trafficking, and transporting minors across state lines and tax evasion. That's their case. They must have the young woman, you spoke to tell you that they had signed nondisclosure agreements with our Kelly, and that they were breaking those agreements by talking to you every single one. Yeah. I mean, there were some of the witnesses to the other girls cases that did not sue him and we're not paid off by him. But yeah, the vast majority of, of girls I interviewed broke nondisclosure agreements and told me they had taken his money, and they were now trusting me to tell their story. So did that mean you have to you had to tell the story anonymous Mont anonymously or were they willing to face the consequences of breaking the end the NBA? Oh, knowing that. Yeah. I mean I when your Honda pace went on the record John D Johnson when she was a kid went on the record in August. Twenty seventeen she knowingly broker non disclosure agreement. Lozere Martinez spoke to me for the first time, you know, for BuzzFeed and her stories in, in depth in the book, she had never. Taken his money, Tiffany Hawkins. The very first girl who tried to stop him that sexual contact begins when she's fifteen it continues from nineteen ninety one to nineteen ninety three before Leah. She sued in nineteen Ninety-six, only after going to the state's attorney in Illinois, and wanting to press criminal charges. They were not interested in pursuing the case. I said, why when we finally talked, she said they were not going to believe a young black girl. It was nineteen years, Terry that, that story starts with her. If it hadn't been mentioned her lawsuit in the facts, I don't think this reporting would have ever been started. And I finally met her in January, and we had rung her bell, we had talked to her mother on the phone. We had gotten nowhere. They weren't going to break the NDA in two thousand in January of twenty nineteen said, I want to tell my story once. And there's nobody else. I'd trust. I wanna talk to you. Let's meet. And she we did with her attorney, and he said, I have to advise you, you, you know, you're breaking a nondisclosure agreement, and we talked for three hours and she hugged me. And I said it had to be one of the worst days in your life. When we put your name in the newspaper in December two thousand and said, you had taken this man's money, and she said, no, I respect what you did. Tell us a little bit of breath story, she told you about her relationship with our Kelly and what he did to her. She said, you know, he called me the cable girl. And I said, Tiffany, what he I cable girl. Yeah. I hooked him up. I'm not proud of this. She said, I n traduced him to five or six of my fifteen year old ice schoolmates. And he had sex with them before he and I ever had sex, and I'm going to have to live with that, when she broke away from Kelley after singing with Leah this girl from cottage, grove heights on the south side of Chicago has a voice like an angel when she's in high school. He picks her up in the high school choir class. He returns to visit his alma mater, he attended one year. Never graduated. She and her two best friends sing behind a Leah and she really becomes lia's, best friend, and a lia's. Parents, call her house when a Leah is missing because she is run away to marry Kelly thinking, they'll be at Tiffany's house, and she wasn't with Tiffany. So Tiffany had sung with Leo seen Paris Amsterdam Rome, London. Toured the world after splitting with Kelly, and losing her best friend, Leah because the sex teenage sex and hooking him up living with the guilt of knowing that she hooked him up with six of her fifteen year old friends. She, she attempted suicide she survived. She got a mere two thirds of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars because the lawyer kept one third. She took that money. She squandered it. She was money was the payoff from the money was changed for the nondisclosure agreement, and then she picked herself up. She had a young son by high school boyfriend. She'd reunited with she goes to school with him in, in her lap. And she, you know, and she runs an ultrasound department at a hospital now she got a master's degree in business after she got her her bachelor's degree. You know, she built a life. And she said, sometimes people. Say who knew, you know, that was our Kelly's money that you have a nice house that you have a car into no-no now. She'd wasted it all, and it was nothing to begin with two thirds of two hundred fifty thousand dollars after the legal fee, she'd blown it, and then she built this life and she not only survived. She thrived and it took her nineteen years. And then she decided to tell her story did any of the women who you spoke to face consequences for breaking their nondisclosure agreements with our Kelly. No Kelly has threatened, but never actually retaliated against any of the women who have spoken to me, and I will add that in nineteen years of reporting on Kelly, I have never had to issue, a retraction or clarification or been sued. So let's take a short break here. And then we'll talk some more if you're just joining us, my guest is Jim dura, goddess who broke the ARA Kelly story and continued to follow it for two decades. He still following it. Now he has a new book called Solis, the case against our Kelly. We'll be right back. This is fresh air. We'd like to thank our sponsor who brings you this message. Discover who alerts you, if they find your social security number on any one of thousands of risky websites. Discover believes there are some things you just need to know. It's just another way. Discover looks out for you not just your account and best of all social security alerts are free for discover card members all. You have to do is sign up online. Learn more at discover dot com slash free alerts. Limitations apply after more than fifty years of lies and silence a witness to the attack on Jim rebe finally tells the truth about what she saw. And you know what they get off or not? But I read when they did. Even though they will give you and I knew they'll give him. They knew they get it's white lies from NPR. Listen, subscribe, now my guest is music critic and reporter, Jim Dora goddess he broke the story, along with his writing partner AbdIn palace about R Kelly and his sexual abuses assault of underage girls. He has a new book about two decades of covering that story. It's called Solis, the case against our Kelly. What are some of the questions about R Kelly that are still unanswered that you would like answers to, I'd like to know how Clive colder, the president of jive records how Ed Jensen the leader, the defense team, how the managers and concert industry promoters, who worked with Kelly how they look at themselves in the mirror, many of them have granddaughters and daughters, and how they know what he did? But they. Turned a blind eye is, is, is, is not accurate enabled enabled by refusing to derail the gravy, train allowed this man to continue because it was money. It was money that allowed him to prey on these girls. And the only reason you know, he may be facing a moment of reckoning and I say may because it's not over is that as he sang in his confessional song. I admit a couple of months ago, I am a broke ask legend, if he is brought to Justice now in the state of Illinois or federal charges. It is only going to be because he's broke. So can you just sum up for us where things stand now with our Kelly and the charges against him? So right now, today are Kelly faces twenty one counts of criminal sexual assault in the state of Illinois with four victims, three of whom are cooperating, but the other is a videotape from circa, nineteen ninety nine two thousand there's a federal grand jury at least one sitting in the northern district of Illinois, there was one sitting in the southern district of New York, the federal investigations are, are being spearheaded by the department of homeland security, the FBI and the IRS. Their charges are looking more at what the book is about thirty years of sex trafficking. Thirty years of obstruction of Justice, whether those charges a forthcoming we shall see. Has following this story the or Kelly story for two decades lead, you to rethink the stories of other music stars, who were alleged to have relationships with young girls. You know, certainly there is a long and ignoble history of male superstars in music, treating women badly, it starts before Frank Sinatra and it continues until well after the Ryan Adams story that recently broke in the New York Times, but I don't think what's unique, Terry about Kelly is even as a ardent student of musical history. There is not a body count of forty eight women whose names, I know for anyone else we can name not Jimmy page of Led Zeppelin, or Jerry Lee Lewis, or, or anyone, I, I think this is truly a predator, who happened to be using the guise of pop music, superstar, the way some pre Sav the way, some teachers have I it's, it's truly a singular case, especially your concern in the book that while. Reporting the story while more and more evidence is coming out that art Kelly is a predator that many critics are continuing to review his music in a vacuum in, in a kind of cultural vacuum in the sense that they're not putting it in the context of the allegations against him. I'd like you to talk about that a little bit because I think that guest to a very complicated question for everybody who who reviews and for listeners, too, you know, and for viewers of TV and movies, and readers of books, like does the arts stand independent from the person who made it and what they've done that, that might be very bad in their own life. Yeah. Well, you know, the professor side of me has has looked at all the greatest, philosophers of criticism Oscar Wilde to H L Minkin to the late Lester bangs, and I think that ninety nine percent of the time, the ideal of separating the art and the artist is a noble one and certainly we wouldn't want to impose a moral. Litmus test on every creator of any piece of art, we consume. And then I think about having this long conversation with Roger Ebert, in the middle of all this about triumph for the will, and how there is no way to watch that film by Leni Riefenstahl and just talk about the incredible cinematography without talking about hundreds of thousands of young men who are about to set Europe on fire and try to wipe out populations of people. He's propaganda films, actually made for the Nazis, the, the propaganda film. Of all time, try them for the will made for the Nazi regime birth of a nation is similar the lasting legacy. To me as a critic from metoo and time's up is going to be us having to look at, when it's impossible to separate the art and the artist and me as a professor or critic, I say, there's no right or wrong. We just have to always each and every one of us consider the context, and if you can continue to take pleasure in a Woody Allen film, and I can't or vice versa, or I can really still enjoy midnight in Paris, but I cannot watch Manhattan with the accusations made against him by his daughter. You know, I I don't think there's a right or wrong. But I think if we take art important as something important as the most important thing in life. Certainly that's how I look at music. I think you have to consider these things can you listen to our Kelly's music now? No, no. And I have done it strictly. It sounds like high personally, I've done in the same way, I had to watch that video tape I have got to do this to tell this story right? But no, it triggers me in a way that the, the day triggers these women. I mean, they all have told me I met a backyard barbecue. I am in church. I am at a relatives high school graduation. And I hear this music and, and it, it makes me physically ill. But that's me. I don't expect anybody else to to to tune it out. But I do expect you to be aware of it. And of, of how this man is hurt so many women and, you know, I mean you have your morals I have mine, I'm not going to prescribe anyone else's, especially not when it comes to art, but I, I think it was wrong for so many of my critical peers for so long to literally give it a snide passing despite all that unpleasantness R Kelly is a genius. And I mean literally those words were written. Dozens of times despite all that unpleasantness. You are talking about destroying the lives of many underage girls. That's not unpleasantness. That's a horror. Gender, regardless. I wanna thank you for being on our show again. Thank you for your reporting. Thank you, Terry, Jim dura goddess is the author of Solis, the case against our Kelly. You can hear doer goddess on the public radio show and podcast sound opinions, which he co host with fellow pop music, critic, Greg, Kat, after we take a short break marine Corrigan will review a new autobiographical novel by ocean Wong who emigrated from Vietnam with his mother, when he was to this is fresh air, support for this podcast and the following message come from home. Instead senior care here is lakeland HOGAN home, instead, gerontologist and caregiver advocate reflecting on the importance of meaningful connections for seniors. We know that connection is so important as we age. And that's really something that we've seen over the last twenty five years, you know, it's much more than just providing care. It's building that relationship helping to truly enhance their lives. To learn more about. Home instead senior care's mission to enhance the lives of aging adults and their families. Go to home, instead dot com. When's the last time you had a really good workout? Notify sets. But if you'll brain I'm Sean Covey, Don host of hidden brain. Listen every week. And flex your mind. Ocean long is a young Vietnamese, American writer who came to widespread notice a few years ago with his multiple award winning poetry collection night's sky with exit wounds. His new debut novel is called on earth, where briefly gorgeous and our book critic, Maureen Corrigan says it's dazzling. Here's an SAT word for you. Aptron him. An afternoon is a proper name, that's especially at for describing the person who bears, it, take you sane bolt the bolt of lightning Jamaican sprinter or the poet, William Wordsworth now add to the list, ocean Wong Wong was given the name ocean by his mother of yet. Enemies immigrant, who worked as a manicurist as the story goes a customer, corrected. Her pronunciation of the word beach, which when she said it sounded like that word that rhymes with witch. Wong's mother adopted the word ocean instead, and when she learned that it refers to a body of water that can connect countries such as the United States, and Vietnam, she gave her son. The hopeful name of ocean in his poetry and just published novel cold on earth, where briefly gorgeous Wong writes about the yearning for connection that afflicts immigrants, but ocean also describes the distinctive wave Wong writes, his words are liquid flowing, rolling teasing mighty and overpowering. When Wong's mother gave him the Oso apt name of ocean. She inadvertently called into being a writer, whose language some of us readers could happily drown in. On earth, where briefly gorgeous is an autobiographical novel in the form of a letter a letter written by a son named little dog to his illiterate. Mother, dear mama. The novel begins, I am writing to reach you, even if each word, I put down is one word further from where you are in that one line, one via little dog has described the unintended rift, that education can cause within a working class immigrant family. Little dog was born in Vietnam. But like Wong himself, he was brought to America as a small child. The dear Ma letter little dog rights, as a twenty something young man in the nineteen ninety s roams through the family history, monumental, and small we hear how little dog's grandmother escaped from her range. Marriage in Vietnam, and how her body her purple dress, kept her alive as a sex worker. We also hear how the remembered violence of the Vietnam, war, transmute, it self into the frequent slaps and punches rain down on little dog by his mother. I didn't know little dog rights to her that the war was still inside you and that once it enters you, it never leaves, but merely echoes a sound forming the face of your own son. And then there's this memory that little dog shares with Ma the classic ordeal where the bullies on the school bus torture. The outsider it's one of the most familiar scenes in literature and film. But listen to a few sentences and here how long through little dog takes us deep into the shame and helpless. Snus speak English said the boy with a yellow bowl cut look at me when I'm talking to you. He was only nine but had already mastered. The dialect of damaged American fathers, the boys crowded around me sensing entertainment, when I did nothing but closed my eyes. The boy, slapped me. I stared at my feet at the shoes. You bought me Ma the ones with red lights, that flashed on the soles. When I walked I kicked, my shoes gently at first then faster my sneakers erupted with silent flares, the world's smallest ambulances going nowhere. There are extended riffs throughout Wong's novel on subjects like tiger. Woods, racial heritage and on the words. Sorry, which little dog rights is the most common English word spoken by Asian nail. Salon workers. It's also the most common English words spoken by the mostly Hispanic laborers to their white boss in the tobacco fields where little dog works as a teenager and where he falls in love with a white boy named Trevor little dog confesses to Ma that Trevor was the boy from whom I learned there was something even more brutal and total than work want. In an essay, he wrote three years ago for the New Yorker ocean long recalled that when I entered kindergarten I was in a sense emigrating all over again, except this time into English, like so many immigrant writers before him. Ocean Wong has taken the English he acquired with difficulty and not only made it his own, but he's made it better marine, cardigan teaches literature at Georgetown University. She reviewed on earth where briefly gorgeous by ocean Vong tomorrow on fresh air. How do you forgive someone who hits your husband with our car and then drives away leaving him to bleed to death on the side of the road? How do you forgive that? My guest will be Christina Applegate, who stars as a grieving widow and mother on the new Netflix series dead to me. She played the daughter Kelly Bundy in married with children and co starred an anchorman as an anchor. Woman. I hope you'll join us. Fresh Air's executive producer is Guinea Miller. Our interviews and reviews, produced an edited by EMI salad. Phyllis Myers, San brigger, Lauren principal, Heidi Simone. Recent Madden moves eighty Thia Challenor and Seth Kelly. I'm Terry gross.

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