Music News

While doing a promotional press run for her single, “Commitment,” Monica recently spoke out about embattled singer and songwriter R. Kelly.“My thoughts are that anything you do you have to be held accountable. Doesn’t matter if it’s now or later,” Monica said.

“It doesn’t change the fact that he helped shape and molded a lot of who we listen to now, but he has to pay the price for what he has done. There’s no way around it. It’s atmosphere. Whatever you put out in the atmosphere. It can be 20 minutes or 20 years. It is that. I feel like we make our beds and we have to lie in them.”

Monica continued on to explain that when she was a pre-teen, grown men pursued her.

“Even before being a mom, I was a 13-year-old girl that grown men were always after. Thank God for my ability to be so outspoken because… But not every young girl is equipped with that. Not every young girl is able to understand that a person’s celebrity should not allow them to be able to tell you what to do, when to do it, how to do it, where to go,” Monica shared.

R. Kelly

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – JUNE 26: R&B singer R. Kelly covers his mouth as he speaks to members of his entourage as he arrives at the Leighton Criminal Courts Building for a hearing on June 26, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Kelly is facing several counts of aggravated sexual abuse. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

“You can’t separate the persona and the music and all of that stuff. But I know that a lot of my generation of R&B music they were raised by him musically, period. Musically, not the other stuff. So he’s having to face the fate that he created,” she continued.

Back in May, R.Kelly was indicted on new sexual assault and abuse charges, as NPR reported. The troubled singer and songwriter had 11 more felony sexual assault and sexual abuse charges filed against him. The charges include four counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, two counts of criminal sexual assault by force, two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse due to the singer allegedly abusing young girls between the ages of 13 and 16.

During the interview, Monica also talked about today’s R&B singers, why she feels like “the underdog,” and raising black children in today’s society.

“I came up in the era where we had a lot of that [singers who can’t really sing] too. My issue was only when it was only that. See at least now, things are welcomed differently,” Monica said.

LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 10: US singer Gabriella Wilson, aka H.E.R., poses with her awards for Best R&B Performance ‘Best Part’ and Best R&B Album ‘H.E.R.’ poses in the press room during the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Monica referenced a few newcomer R&B artists who are able to actually sing and do more.

“You have H.E.R. You have Ella Mai. You have all of these different people that can sing-sing for real. She plays instruments for real. It’s not that I ever had a problem with the other types of music. I just didn’t understand how does one ignore a complete genre. But that has changed here lately. Now, all of the gangstas are singing at the concerts. The men, the women. That’s what I love. That’s what I missed,” she said.

“My first record was over ‘back seat of my jeep, let’s swing an episode,’ so I sang ‘Just One of Dem Days’ [“Don’t Take It Personal”]  over LL’s [LL Cool J] record. We can merge all of these worlds in different ways, but it was a little bit disturbing to me that for a while R&B music was like, ‘Oh that’s old school. we don’t want that.’ That’s not the case right now. We went on a 40-city arena-only packed every night tour of just myself, Xscape, just straight R&B. People are loving that feeling again because they want to feel something. We’re all going through stuff. ”

“Music like that kind of marks an era,” Monica continued.

Bebe and Cece Winans

NASHVILLE, TN – AUGUST 16: Honorees BeBe Winans (L) and CeCe Winans accept an award onstage during the 2018 Black Music Honors at Tennessee Performing Arts Center on August 16, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

The veteran R&B artist also revealed that the first CD that she ever got was BeBe and CeCe Winans. She also referenced listening to other artists such as Anita Baker and Lalah Hathaway. “The options were limitless. I’m happy that that’s happening again for this generation,” Monica said.

Glennisha Morgan is a Detroit-bred multimedia journalist and writer. She writes about intersectionality, hip-hop, pop culture, queer issues, race, feminism, and her truth. Follow her on Twitter @GlennishaMorgan.