Well, here’s a weird story. Spin’s Anna Gaca reports that R. Kelly, the acclaimed R&B artist who’s spent the year dodging numerous allegations of sexual misconduct and imprisonment, is slated to play a show in New York City next month at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater, marking what’s arguably the singer’s most high-profile concert in several years.
While Kelly is, of course, free to play whatever shows he wants, this seems like an odd time for the disgraced singer to show his face, especially at this scale. In addition to damning accounts from former girlfriends, it was revealed that back in April that Kelly was under investigation for knowingly transmitting an STD to a 19-year old woman.
“MSG has a long history of not censoring performers. We believe artists have the right to rent our venues to put on their own event, and that the public then has the choice whether or not to support that event,” a Madison Square Garden representative told Spin.
Another bizarre twist, Gaca notes, is that Hulu, the streaming platform after which the theater is named, is currently developing a documentary about Kelly’s history of alleged abuse. His concert at the venue is slated for September 15th. This Friday, he’ll play a show at the Family Arena in Saint Charles, Missouri. As of now, these are the only two shows on his itinerary.
The concert arises just a few weeks after Kelly dropped “I Admit It”, a 19-minute track in which the singer addresses the various allegations while maintaining his innocence.