R. Kelly to magazine: 'I'm the Martin Luther King'
R. KELLY | Rapper, still up on child porn charges, compares himself to slain civil rights leader
May 17, 2007
BY LESLIE BALDACCI firstname.lastname@example.org
R. Kelly compares himself to Muhammad Ali, Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley -- and even Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. -- in a magazine interview that hits the street just in time for the release of his new album this month.
Kelly, the Chicago native who rose from street singer to star before facing criminal charges of having sex with an underage girl, made the comments in the spring/summer issue of Hip-Hop Soul magazine.
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R&B singer R. Kelly's interview and photo shoot for Hip-Hop magazine took place a month ago in Chicago.
The magazine had not reached newsstands Wednesday, but the Sun-Times received an advance copy.
The most eyebrow-raising quote: "I'm the Ali of today. I'm the Marvin Gaye of today. I'm the Bob Marley of today. I'm the Martin Luther King, or all the other greats that have come before us. And a lot of people are starting to realize that now."
The blogs quickly picked up the scent after the New York Post ran the quote.
Hiphop.popcrunch.com attributed the quote to "swollen-headed R. Kelly." Crunk & Disorderly (crunktastical.blogspot.com) ran the quote under the category "All Types of Wrong."
Kelly's publicist, Regina Daniels, said the interview and photo shoot took place in Chicago about a month ago.
"He doesn't think he's Martin Luther King. He's comparing the fact that he is a prolific songwriter of his time; now it's turned into something else," Daniels said. "Whatever Rob said, any way they can stick it to him. If he breathes it's a problem."
To appear in court Friday
The interview -- along with a photo shoot -- took place in the presidential suite of Hotel Sofitel Chicago Water Tower, according to the magazine. The article calls Kelly "our generation's answer to Ray Charles and Marvin Gaye" and "an ambidextrous soul genius." Kelly's quote came in response to this comment from the interviewer: "The things that have been written about you would make lesser men wither or simply want to give up . . ."
And Kelly's reply also includes this comment: "So I have to walk with a certain humility. I have to walk with love in my heart for those that hate me. I have to. I have to get out and touch people in order for me to continue to feel the pulse of the world."
The Rev. James Meeks, the state senator who ministered to Kelly during the early days of his legal case, quoted Scripture: "We should be careful about praising ourselves and leave that to other people. That would be my admonition."
Kelly spokesman Allan Mayer protested the way the quote was lifted in the Post. "What I would suggest to anybody who is put off by that quote is read the entire interview, which I think much better reflects what Rob was trying to say."
Kelly will appear in court again Friday for the latest hearing in a case that started nearly five years ago.
Kelly is charged with 14 counts of child pornography for allegedly videotaping himself engaging in sex acts with an underage girl.
The Cook County state's attorney's office filed the charges in June 2002 after the Sun-Times turned over a videotape it received anonymously following an article about underage girls suing Kelly for allegedly engaging in sexual relationships with them. Those suits were all settled out of court.
Release date for his new album "Double Up" is May 29.