Small piece of a big thing (amidst bigger things): Lady Gaga pulling “Do What U Want”1 from music stores in light of the most recent accusations against R. Kelly. “Accusations” is putting it lightly; it’s been pretty clear for years that he’s a sex offender at best and a pedophile at worst.
For lack of a better word, the “accusations” were around in 2013 when the song came out. As in, I’d heard it and believed it then. Gaga must have heard it and not believed it / not wanted to believe it.
The fascinating thing is that the song is itself about consent. The way I read the lyrics, the fundamental emotion I get is “horrified”, and I thought that made it very effective, with bonus points for working it into a dance song. And then there’s this weird verse from R. Kelly, whose character doesn’t seem like he’s on the same page as Gaga’s at all, who doesn’t get that she’s uncomfortable in this whole situation…who actually has a line “Do what I want, do what I want with your body”.
Supposedly it’s supposed to be the two of them against the world. But that’s not what it sounds like. To be the male singer who’d fill in that role…well, it’s what Eminem did for Love The Way You Lie, but with it being R. Kelly’s real life instead of a character.
Did Kelly think about this at all when he originally recorded the song?
I never paid to own a copy of Do What U Want. But there was a way in which it was very good, a critique and cry for help; and then there’s the cosmic joke that the guest artist was and is, himself, a rapist.
[originally posted on Facebook]