Review: Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly

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Review for "Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly" by Jim DeRogatis (2019)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Ok so I read this. It isn’t a happy read, nor is it something that I would recommend by shouting to all while standing at the corner of two streets during rush hour. However, this book is necessary reading, particularly if you know anything about Robert Kelly, a.k.a R. Kelly, the notorious R&B star with a string of music hits from the 90’s and early 2000’s who has been in the news and in court for sexually abusing women, mostly his young Black female fans.

This book starts at the beginning, with R Kelly’s childhood, his high school years, and his subsequent appearance on the R&B scene as the front man of the group The Public Announcement. It details his marriage to a 15-year-old singer Aaliyah (he was 27 at the time) and how it was downplayed by pretty much everyone (the record company, her family, his reps, etc). The book continues with interviews from many of R Kelly’s victims detailing his physical and sexual abuse, his continued fame, and yes, the infamous video. There is also detailed analysis of his first trial in 2001 over the contents of that videotape, in which Kelly filmed himself raping an underaged girl. Last, there’s details of what has been labeled as his “sex cult,” a group of young women who currently live and travel with him and he supposedly refuses to let contact their families. After over 20 years and 200 pages, you notice a pattern: many blinded eyes, an abundance of willful ignorance, and epic fails at every level. It’s sickening.

I found this book to be well written and researched. Jim DeRogatis, a reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times, has been following R. Kelly’s case as it has unfolded for the last 20 years. He was the one who received the infamous tape at his news desk. He was also the one who first interviewed several of R Kelly’s victims, years before anyone took any of the abuse allegations seriously. Information on the case was up-to-date, timely, and relevant, with the latest information on R Kelly’s case as of spring 2019.

I wouldn’t recommend this book to everyone, especially R Kelly’s fans. Despite the OVERWHELMING evidence of his guilt, I imagine that even 100 books on this subject could not convince them otherwise. But to those who believe his victims and want to see justice for them, this book is all you need

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3 thoughts on “Review: Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly”

  1. I didn’t know a book had come out about this! But I also didn’t realize that he had a kind of cult of girls living with him, I only heard about that a few months ago. Wtf! It’s really a shame that the people who most need to see this evidence will refuse to look. I might pick this up at some point, I heard his “cult” talked about on the Zealot podcast and realized I didn’t know the half of this story. It was stomach turning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely a stomach churner…ick. I haven’t heard the Zealot podcast on this one, I will now have to give this one a listen. The “cult” story broke around 2017 on Buzzfeed News. These are young women who are adults, but apparently there is some crazy mental abuse going on, he keeps them hidden away and doesn’t allow them to contact family. That story is here: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/jimderogatis/parents-told-police-r-kelly-is-keeping-women-in-a-cult

      Liked by 1 person

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