R. Kelly’s interview with HuffPost Live’s Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani has left me feeling all kinds of cray. What started out as a very simple, not incredibly engaging but not terrible dialogue between the Grammy award-winning musician and Modarressy-Tehrani, quickly evolved into a catastrophe of an interview right before our very eyes. But what did we expect. We know that any interaction with the Chicago native comes with baggage because…well…underage sex allegations.
That didn’t stop Kelly from trying to do it live one mo’ time after that ill-fated Twitter chat of yesteryear.
On Monday, the star appeared on a live segment of the broadcast to promote his newly released album, The Buffet, which has been struggling in terms of record sales. Of course, things started out easily enough, but then the interviewer asked about his very questionable past, and let’s just say that the “Pied Piper” didn’t take too kindly to that.
While I can’t exactly say that I found the nearly 17-minute interview entertaining, it was definitely filled with plenty of “WTF moments,” among other things. Here are the most cringe-inducing moments from R. Kelly’s chat/confrontation/show down. Get ready to slink down in your seats.
1. That very awkward video of R. Kelly asking for support before the interview.
We should’ve known this interview was going to go horribly wrong from the very beginning. Not to be nitpicky, but what was the point of opening up with a video of R. Kelly asking fans for support, especially when he immediately addressed the importance of supporting musicians in the first few minutes of the interview? I understand the video’s use for a lead-in to the conversation, but this was just awkwardly placed and immediately caused confusion.
2. The time when Modarressy-Tehrani hit Kells with a tweet about referencing his involvement with underage girls.
As journalists, it’s our job to ask the tough questions. It does not make it easy though. As I mentioned before, the interview was a bit on the surface side at first, but pleasant. That was until she hit R. Kelly with a tweet from a social media user soon after he answered a question about why support for his music has dwindled.
“They’re supporting me but I don’t think they’re…paying more attention to the support in the area of, ‘OK I’m gonna buy this,'” the star answered. “Because naturally, if you can get something for free you’re gonna get it for free…it’s so easy to have to get to without even having to go to the store and buy it.”
Modarressy-Tehrani wasn’t having it, so she follows up, “So some people say that they’re conflicted. That they want to support the music because they think musically, you are a genius. But they can’t support you. So this is one tweet of many tweets. Vante Culpepper says, ‘Will I let R. Kelly babysit my daughters? F*** no. Would I play his music at a family party? Ya gotdamn right.'”
After politely asking the host if cursing was allowed, R. Kelly then responds by saying, “I say f*** that. I say I have a lot of fans around the world that love R. Kelly and I’m glad they don’t feel the way she do.” (It was a guy, by the way.) God bless [him], but you can’t satisfy everybody. You’re not gonna always have everybody to hold you down. But when I go to my concerts, which I’ve been selling out concerts I’ve just gotten off of a tour I’m finna do another Buffet tour, and I really do believe it’s gonna sell out, we’re gonna have a lot of fun and I’m just glad to know that everybody doesn’t feel the way [he] does…”
Sounds like he answered the question, but that wasn’t enough for Caroline. See moment #3.
3. The time R. Kelly politely tells Modarressy-Tehrani to (ahem) shove her opinion.
Caroline was met with one of the most politely phrased “f*** your opinions” I’ve witnessed in a very long time. She brought up the multiple lawsuits and alleged sex crimes against the “Ignition” singer and at that point, things got a lil ugly.
“…When you think about R. Kelly, I think people find it very difficult to not think about the multiple lawsuits, the multiple allegations of you having inappropriate sex relations with minors,” Modarressy-Tehrani said. “What do you say to those people who find it conflicting?”
Wait for it…
“Well since you’re the one [who] brought it up, I’ll just say it to you because I don’t hear it from anyone else,” R. Kelly responded. “You know you hear a few rumors here and there but as far as from me to you, I would say again, f*** that. […] Now when I start to hear what I just heard you sit here and say to me when I step on that stage, which is my office, which is my interview room, if I hear what you just said from twenty to fifty thousand fans, I will never show up to that venue and any other venue again. But until then, I’m gonna continue to do R. Kelly. […] I’m gonna always do my job until I get fired and the only ones who can fire me is my fans.”
4. The time when Modarressy-Tehrani asked R. Kelly if his sex life was healthy.
Okay. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one who noticed that R. Kelly was a little defensive in this interview. It seems like while the rest of the world picked up on this, the HuffPo staffer didn’t recognize it or she didn’t seem to care. She was already on shaky ground when she hit the R with: “Let’s talk about the lyrics for a second, would you say that you have a healthy relationship with sex?” Okay I get it. The man makes highly sexual music and asking a musician about his lyrics is usually a win. But these types of questions are reserved for interviews that are going well, and for those who are open and receptive to getting a bit personal with you. Neither of those touchstones were present.
5. That moment when R. Kelly asked Modarressy-Tehrani if she gets drunk, and she admitted that she does.
As Caroline attempted to ask R. Kelly questions from those who had submitted them to HuffPost Live, she was interrupted by a seemingly annoyed Kells. Between the back and forth that ensued as a result of bringing up his past, somehow Caroline’s drinking habits came into play. Check out the very strange exchange below:
R. Kelly: “Do you drink?”
Modarressy-Tehrani: “Do I Drink?”
R. Kelly: “Uh huh.”
R. Kelly: “Do you get drunk?”
R. Kelly: “You fall all over and not know where ya at?”
Modarressy-Tehrani: “I don’t understand the line of questioning, but no.”
We’re just going to stop right here on this one.
6. That moment when R. Kelly complimented Modarressy-Tehrani AFTER trying to shame her on her own interviewing approach.