R&B singer R. Kelly has finally been brought to justice for his many wrongdoings. In the days leading up to his official sentencing, his legal team was fighting to get R. Kelly off by proving that the star was dealing with a number of debilitating issues. This included diabetes and being overweight. In addition to this, he is also reportedly not able to read and write, which they argue impacted his ability to understand his sentencing. Let’s take a look at his education history find out more about R. Kelly’s issue with reading and writing.
R. Kelly was born Robert Kelly on the south side of Chicago, Illinois. As a teenager he attended Kenwood Academy High School, where he was inspired by music teacher-mentor Lena McLin to become a singer. Robert would sing on street corners to anyone who would listen and eventually got his official start singing with the group of Public Announcement.
R. Kelly has not been ashamed to talk about his illiteracy issues in the past. In 2009 he discussed how his cousins used to poke fun at him and did not think he was going to excel very far in life. “I don’t even read, really, and I’m not afraid to say that. My cousins and brothers used to tease me, ‘you can’t even read right. How you think you’re going to come up?’ The only reason I graduated from grammar school is because I had a great jump shot.”
R. Kelly’s music teacher saw through that and still felt that Kelly was going to become a prolific writer based on his musical talents. “I went to high school and [my teacher] told me, ‘you will be one of the greatest writers of all time.’ I believed. You [have to] believe it. You can’t believe [anything] if you’re hating. You can’t achieve [anything] if you’re hating.”
His teacher was right, and to date, R. Kelly is one of the most decorated songwriters of all time. His records “I Believe I Can Fly,” “World’s Greatest,” and “Ignition” are some of the most beloved R&B songs in the world. He’s also helped write massive hits for other acts as well. R. Kelly was responsible for Aaliyah’s debut album “Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number” and her hits “Back & Forth” and “At Your Best (You Are Love).” He also wrote the song “You Are Not Alone” for Michael Jackson and “Fortunate” for Maxwell. R. Kelly helped pen hits for Britney Spears, B2K, and Whitney Houston as well.
As previously mentioned, R. Kelly’s IQ was used to cast doubts on the allegations against him. His lawyers believe that Kelly’s illiteracy was used against him to take advantage of the singer and bully him into bad business deals. “[Kelly’s] inability to read and write as a child was a significant source of shame and embarrassment that persists to this day,” his lawyers explained in a letter. R. Kelly’s reading level is that of a 1st grader. The letter continued, stating, “[Kelly’s] literacy deficiencies have led to chronic victimization in adulthood. [Kelly] has been financially exploited his entire adult life.”