R. Kelly’s autobiography Soulacoaster: The Diary of Me hit stores recently, and while the singer had to cancel his appearances to promote the book due to a medical issue (complications from a prior throat surgery), that hasn’t stopped folks from snatching up copies to get the tea.
I’m not a fan of R. Kelly the person — his music is another story — but I was hoping his memoir would give me some insight into the more questionable, salacious details of his very public personal lowlights. I’ve wondered for years about the real story, or at least his version of it, behind his marriage to underage singer Aaliyah, what exactly he was thinking when he allegedly urinated on a minor, and what was going through his head in that infamous BET interview when Touré asked him if he liked young girls and Kellz, fresh off a sex abuse trial, had the nerve to respond, “How young?” What in the Jerry Sandusky kind of answer was that?
Kelly is spilling some tea in his book, but he stayed mum on the juicy stuff that everyone wants to know about. He does drop a few deets on his marriage to Andrea Kelly, one of the co-stars of VH1’s Hollywood Exes. Save for an ESSENCE interview where she denied watching that tape, we haven’t heard much from her or about her. Kellz says they argued constantly and recounts a time when she threw her $50,000 wedding ring in a pond in the backyard of their home. He blames the breakup of their marriage on Andrea’s desire to be a dancer — the professional kind, not “exotic” — instead of a stay-at-home mom to their three children. But what about the toll those child-sex charges must have taken on the marriage? He doesn’t say a word. Instead, Kelly claims he knew the 12-year marriage was over after watching, of all things, the 2004 romantic drama The Notebook. (Andrea quickly responded to TMZ that his account just was not true.)
Now, maybe it’s just me, but doesn’t Andrea seem like the wrong person for Kellz to tick off? Short of that aforementioned ESSENCE interview where she played nice and didn’t really give up many details, she’s kept her ex-husband’s confidences all this time. And being as how she’s got a show to promote and a wide platform to talk, it may not be a smart move to charge up the battery in her back. I’m sure she’s got a whole lot to say about her ex that people would want to hear. And if she ever wants to write a book about it — surely an idea that’s occurred to her — I’d be really interested to read her side of the story.
What R. Kelly does divulge is what’s become, for better or worse, standard autobiographical fare. He talks about his dyslexia, and reveals he was once a stripper and was molested as a child — which is, of course, unfortunate, but might also explain a lot about his alleged behavior, no? But mostly, Soulacoster is a compilation of stories about how R. Kelly became a hit-maker, with behind-the-scenes details of his celebrity-land encounters thrown in for good measure.
If you want to know how he came up with the lyrics to the three-time Grammy Award-winning single “I Believe I Can Fly,” or if you think you might enjoy tales of his work with music veterans, then this is the book for you. But if you want the scoop? You’ll probably be better off tuning in to Andrea’s next interview.
Demetria L. Lucas is the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk