A week before his arraignment, R. Kelly has already entered a plea — an
emotional plea for the support of his fans.
His latest song, “Heaven, I Need a Hug,” finds the R&B singer —
currently facing 21 counts of child pornography-related charges (see “R. Kelly Free On Bail As Detailed Charges
Emerge” ) — reaching out to his hometown of Chicago, where the
song debuted Tuesday night on WGCI-FM.
“Heaven, I Need a Hug” is the only legit track from the Loveland
sessions to be released, as the rest have since been scrapped because of
bootlegging (see “Kelly Vows To Clamp Down
As New Bootleg Hits Streets” ).
The song was written in response to the current scandal, according to WGCI
Program Director Elroy Smith, who said he met with Kelly and waited until he
got permission from Kelly’s label before airing the track.
In the mid-tempo ballad, Kelly accuses his detractors of rushing to
judgement, criticizes women for dependence on men, asks the media to give
him a break, and begs for a little human tenderness (“Heaven, I need a hug/ Is there anybody out there willing to embrace a thug?” goes the chorus).
Kelly sings, “I gave 13 years of my life to this industry/ Hit song or not,
I’ve given all of me/ You smile in my face and tell me you love me/ But then
before you know the truth you’re so quick to judge me.”
Kelly goes on to blame his current troubles on his celebrity, a belief he
also put forth in his May interview with MTV News (see href="http://www.mtv.com/bands/r/r_kelly/news_feature_051302/index.jhtml">“R
. Kelly: In His Own Words”). He sings, “Seems like the more money I make/ The more drama y’all
try to create/ The more I move into the positive/ The more y’all don’t want to let me live/ When will you realize that I don’t owe you nothin?”
So far the song has been getting a good reaction in Chicago. WGCI reports
that within 90 minutes of adding the song to the playlist Tuesday evening,
“Heaven, I Need a Hug” became one of the station’s most requested songs.
Rival Chicago station WBBM-FM has banned Kelly’s music because of the
charges against him. WGCI, which has been supportive of Kelly’s career since
his days in Public Announcement and was the focal point of a community
protest (see “Kelly Settles Civil Suit,
Defends Himself On Radio” ), takes the position that the station won’t
condemn the singer unless the courts do, Smith said. However, WGCI has
stopped playing some of Kelly’s more innuendo-laden songs, such as “Feelin’
on Yo Booty.”