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Culture > News

My Reaction to the Gayle King and R. Kelly Interview

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Salisbury chapter.

Earlier this year, the network Lifetime came out with a five-part series discussing famed singer R. Kelly’s years of alleged abuse and sexual harassment towards underaged girls and grown women. A couple weeks ago, media giant CBS decided to share an interview, hosted by anchor Gayle King, with Kelly, concerning the recent sexual abuse allegations. In just a few days, clips from the interview surfaced on YouTube edging at over a million views.

When I first saw a segment of the interview on YouTube, I was not sure what to expect. Before the interview had surfaced on YouTube, I wasn’t hearing much buzz about the impending sit down, however like others, I clicked fast, while questions were swirling in my head.

“How long was the actual interview? What tone of questions would be asked and would they be biased? Would he admit to any of the allegations or would he avoid any questioning,” and last but not least, “Why did he agree to do this anyway?”

Nonetheless, I was left in shock from what I heard and saw. Apparently, R. Kelly was more than happy to share all the emotions he felt concerning not only the allegations, but his children and ex-wife, Andrea Kelly. Though he surprisingly admitted that he had wronged the women in his life, he did not discuss whether abuse was apart of his wrong doing. Though this response was a bit of a surprise for me, sense much of the time interviews can be scripted, nothing compared to what happened next.


A few moments into questioning, interviewer Gayle King asked, “Have you ever had sex with anyone under the age of 17?”

His response was “no.”

However, before King could finish her point, R. Kelly became increasingly agitated which in a matter of seconds turned into an emotional breakdown (This is where it starts to get real).


Of the many high-profile interviews I have seen, this by far was the most eventful, not only because R. Kelly decided to use this interview to be candid, but he allowed himself to experience a mental break down involving shouting and crying during an interview that would air on national television.

While watching this interview, I was 90% sure that it had taken a detour to a slippery slope. In fact, I honestly was contemplating whether this interview was going to be cut short or result in someone getting hurt. R. Kelly seemed to be on the verge of getting violent which could have resulted in far more than ratings for CBS.

Furthermore, during an interview with Stephen Colbert, Gayle King revealed that this was her first rodeo with R. Kelly. Sometime before the interview, King says she visited his home in Trump Tower to introduce herself. However, she did not reveal whether there was any prep for the actual interview by CBS or R. Kelly’s team. In fact, upon watching the dialog between her and R. Kelly, I was unsure as to whether there was any clear direction in sight. It honestly appeared to be more of an informal and somewhat conversational dialog, which reminded me more of therapy.

What caused me to wonder about the preparation of the interview was the break down that ensued, assuming this would probably not be something that neither R. Kelly nor his team would want (it honestly looked like he was faking to get sympathy). Despite this, all props go to Gayle King. She handled this interview like a true boss despite being fearful.

Furthermore, as a journalist in training, I learned that you never want the interview to resort to anything remotely close to this. However, I was proud of Gayle King for being resilient. As for R. Kelly, I believe this interview can serve as an indicator of how he may have treated the women in his life, as if there’s not enough evidence already.

I'm Kyra Wilkins who is a freshmen majoring in communications and an aspiring journalist. I am able to explore my creative side through writing. I am excited to be able to be a voice for others.
Amalia Parran is a senior at Salisbury University. She is Co-Correspondant for Her Campus Salisbury. She loves to learn about other cultures, and how they differ from her own. Currently, she spends her free time watching anime and volunteering at the Wicomico Humane Society. After she graduates, she hopes to work for a marketing company in the DMV area.