What We Can Learn About Dropping Black Panties 

I’ve been publishing an erratic and off-kilter R. Kelly Quote-of-the-Day Newsletter to gear up for his Black Panties album. This is what I’ve been sharing with a small group of friends for the past month. Don’t worry: they all still like me. I think.

Date: November 13, 2013
Subject: R. Kelly Quote of the Day: 11/13/13

We live life and learn through R. Kelly:

His latest album, “Black Panties” will be released on December 10, 2013. Will it be your stocking stuffer this Festivus?

You’ve been added to a small newsletter where I send R. Kelly quotes to you, maybe daily, maybe never again. (Note: my Netflix isn’t working, and all I do now is watch the West Wing.)

Read on 11/13/13, The Rolling Stone once reported: “I like that I can change lanes and do all different kinds of music. Fans can never accuse R. Kelly of doing the same thing, I keep mixing it up.”

Take note of Robert Sylvester’s use of the third and first person in the same exact sentence. Is he omniscient? Kelly once said, “I am very conscious of who I am as an artist and as an inspirational person.”

“They aren’t ready,”
Christine D.

Date: November 14, 2013
Subject: R. Kelly Quote-of-the-Day: 11/14/13

“You know, I’m no different from a fireman. You go to run into a fire no matter how big the blaze is.”
– R. Kelly

Note: Confused on what the fire is supposed to represent. I’d assume the fire would be his metaphorical passion, but why would he want to be the very agent that goes in to extinguish it? *Drops mic


Date: November 17, 2013
Subject: R. Kelly Quote-of-the-Day (ON THE SABBATH): 11/17/13

When R. Kelly bought Chinese food and was about to meet Michael Jackson for the first time:

“I was so nervous that I started practicing in front of the food just how I would introduce Michael. Would I say, ‘Mike, would you like some Chinese food?’ Or, ‘Mike, want some of this, man?’ Or maybe it’d be better to say, ‘If you’re in the mood for some Chinese food, Michael, you’re welcome to it.'”

Remember, folks, we all feel nervous sometimes– maybe because of the Chinese food, maybe because of Michael Jackson.


Date: December 9, 2013
Subject: R. Kelly Quote-of-the-Day Newsletter: 12/9/13: “Let’s Get Real Edition”

“I’m a scientist of music.”

This crazy genius is dropping #BlackPanties tomorrow. How ya feel, friends?

R. Kelly fan-fiction joke: If I were an enzyme I would be DNA helicase so I could unzip your genes. (Little audience in your head goes: WOOOAAA!!!)

Date: December 10, 2013
Subject: IT’S HERE: Black Panties dropping (I think the main reason why R. Kelly chose this album title.) Ahem, okay: R. Kelly Quote-of-the-Day 12.10.13
Hello my distro bay-bays, (Reality: “Hiii Spam folder!!”),

Today is the day I’ve been obnoxiously emailing up to; the release of R. Kelly’s Black Panties album. For those of you who know me well (all of you), you may be thinking, Christine is the last person to be an R. Kelly evangelist. He’s misogynistic (arguable if you like being compared to a Jeep) and pees on things (gross.).

This is all true, but I’m the type of person to become hyper obsessed about very specific pop culture trends, develop the urgent need to discuss them on a massive level (my 6 Twitter followers) and then never talk about them again. #workethic

R. Kelly is ridiculous, though I stridently believe that culture learns from The Ridiculous. The Ridiculous demographic keeps our social contract in order by giving us a theatrical representation of what life may be like if this cray actually ran the world. Thankfully, these juxtapositions help us reflect and feel appreciative or, maybe, discontent on our current culture. Whichever feeling you may have, the pop culture consumptive experience activates us to join in or rebel against what we want or don’t want to belong in our society. (See: Twerking backlash) (See: Twerking social media activity)

The media industry wrangles in the absurd and gives pop-crays a lot of power and money. However, I’d like to debunk the belief that “the masses” are ignorant and unable to separate and discount most of what pop culture tells us. The “mass media” effect is more nuanced than the media has us think. No matter who you are, you can’t be brainwashed by pop culture. With any meme, you instantly laugh, cringe, and decide whether you like that song, trend, etc. The visceral experience is hinged to our pop culture compass. Like everything you experience? Doubt it, but maybe you live in the middle of the bell curve, have horrible taste, or like everything pre-digested for you.

What’s precarious about pop culture is that young minds are sculpted by the harsh lyrics or sexual innuendos that have transgressed into pure obscenity (cc: WSJ article).

What’s more powerful about pop culture is that if other social communities (see: parenting, education, science, facts, self-esteem, overall evidence of good #human will) give us context to such ridiculousness, then as “consumers,” we’re able to seize control over the mass media effect through our criticism, i.e. freedom of expression, power of choice and preference.

I’ve listened to Black Panties once, in entirely. I’m no member of Pitchfork, though the work is no “Remix to Ignition,” which is Robert Sylvester’s greatest song. Erm, maybe “World’s Greatest” is the greatest, too.

In or out of context, the R. Kelly’s lyrics are unsurprisingly obscene; however people enjoy obscenity don’t they, even if they don’t want to admit it sometimes? It’s why Schadenfreude and that analogy of looking at a car wreck exist. If twisted in the right way perhaps we can glean something positive from the wreckage of lyrics? I don’t think, but anyway here are:

3 Lessons on Work Ethic and Special Snowflake-iness from Black Panties:

  1. “Do it till your leg shakin'”
  2. “All I want to do is throw money on you.”
  3. “I don’t know your name, but damn that’s the turn on.”

I’ve been sharing weird quotes of R. Kelly, so I’d like to turn our attention to what the critics said about Black Panties. If no one is there to listen, why do people share? Art and pop culture is transactional; the applause and jeers of critics is as essential as the work itself. What’s powerful about pop culture is that it depends on you, if you like it, and if it’s worth a damn because you chose to give it attention.

Remember this, Black Panty droppers (gross.): As the audience, we have more power than we realize.

Black Panties: What the critics said:

The L.A. Times said, “There’s a song called “Cookie” built around an explicit Oreo metaphor. There’s an unprintably titled cut that Kelly calls “a sex proposal,” with dozens of mentions of the female genitalia. And there is, of course, “Genius,” in which Kelly reassures a lover, “I’m blessed with the insight to please your body / Tonight you’re lying with a sex genius.”

The Michigan Daily said, “Nothing matters when you’re R. Kelly and you’re including an actual pair of Black Panties in the pre-order of your new album. This man was meant to sing sex music, and respectability be damned, he’s going to do it.”

The Consequence of Sound said, “Attempting to police individual reactions to R. Kelly is, of course, impossible. It’s the polarizing swing, though, between Kelly’s genius and his flagrant misogyny that makes an album like Black Panties enticing and frustrating in equal measure.”

Jezebel said, “Everyone’s favorite masterful weaver of stories, Robert Sylvester Kelly, has blessed us with an 18-track opus, winding his musical threads on his freaky sex loom, and you can stream it in it’s spectacular entirety over at Vibe.

Should you choose to accept this sensual mission, approach with caution and be prepared to be bombarded with some super sexy R. Kelly sex. Like, more than usual. There’s “Crazy Sex,” there’s sex in “Every Position,” there’s some “Physical” sex, there’s sex with the “Lights On.” And then there are the real ballads.

What begins with an MJ’s ‘Human Nature’-inspired ditty about doing it until those “Legs Shakin'” soon blossoms into an ardent plea to a fair maiden to “Show Your Pussy.”

Of course, no song quite reaches the heartfelt poignancy of “Marry the Pussy,” a song which not only boasts repeating the word “pussy” 56 times, but also is an actual proposal song to a woman’s sex organs. Yes. A marriage proposal to a pussy. And one that will undoubtedly usurp the stronghold Train’s ‘Marry Me’ has on the first dance at far too many weddings.

Black Panties“/the Gilded Age of SEXY SEXY EMAN-SEX-PATION drops December 10. Mark those calendars.

And there you have it, folks. My month long project to inconsistently gear up for Black Panties is complete (were there even four emails?). Is it weird I feel closer to you all? Should I quit my day job and exclusively report on the Kelly circuit? The answer to that is: five, probably no, and definitely no.

If anything, I hope this strange string of emails provides you with some fodder moving into 2014. You’re all snowflakes in my eyes, and in the words of our beloved, you all “remind me of my Jeep.”

Love & Rockets,
Christine D. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

image – Black Panties

Keep up with Christine on Twitter and deakhaus.com

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