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R Kelly on Trial: Will He Fly or Will He Fall?

The latest allegations may put R&B singer R Kelly away for good. What will his fate and legacy look like?



R Kelly on trial

The latest allegations may put R&B singer R Kelly away for good. What will his fate and legacy look like?

“Unfortunately I wish I could say this is an anomaly,” civil and trial attorney Sarah Klein told me about the allegations against R Kelly, “but it’s not..”

Klein represents victims of sexual abuse under powerful institutions. A former competitive gymnast, she accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2018 ESPY Awards on behalf of herself and hundreds of other survivors who spoke out about the abuse of former Olympic women’s gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. 

Kelly is facing several charges including sexual assault, abuse of a minor, images of minors, racketeering and obstruction of justice. He is accused of running a criminal enterprise filled with minors for sexual use. 

His trial began on 16 August 2021 in New York. And he will face another trial in Chicago. 

If convicted Kelly could spend the rest of his life in prison. 

What many question is how has he been able to get away with disturbing allegations and explicit evidence on multiple accounts since 1997 right in front of everyone’s eyes? 

“The system failed at every point of confrontation,” Klein noted, “These children were failed every single step of the way.”

One of the accusers shared how she was punished by having sex with a man from Kelly’s team. 

Another described how each of the victims were only allowed limited communication and had to request permission for food and toilet visits. 

NPR culture correspondent Anastasia Tsioulcas has been following the trial closely and notes that Kelly has four defense lawyers. They who have pointed out inconsistencies between the various witnesses in terms of their statements and the patterns they have shared. The defense has also labelled the women as “willing groupies.”

All too often we see stories of sexual perpetrators like Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby abuse their way throughout their careers, their fame empowering them to do as they please. 

“We never like to learn that our heroes are not who we think they are,” Klein observed, “Unfortunately this is something our culture has seen over and over again.”

Although rich, powerful and famous people can get away with more than the average person, when something as disturbing as this happens, there is greater attention from the media and the public.

Had it not been for the media, activists, police, investigators, prosecutors and the public might not have been so attentive to what had been happening for decades. Journalist and author Jim DeRogatis in particular investigated Kelly’s complaints further and sought out a publisher for his information, BuzzFeed eventually agreed.

As for the victims, we have learnt in a previous conversation with Sarah Klein that it can be overwhelmingly difficult to speak up, or even to assimilate what has happened or is happening.

Victims who fall prey to people of power and status are often pressured to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements. When they refuse, they can face threats from their abusers’ fans and allies.

Sarah shared in our conversation that she has two clients who are victims of Michael Jackson’s abuse. After speaking out against him, she received a staggering amount of death threats. 

Until now, R Kelly avoided prison sentencing by paying bail bonds, which go to the victims who file the lawsuit. A bail bond is a way for a defendant to pay the jail to get out of jail until the court date. 

In the current case, however, there are six alleged victims in the indictment and Kelly has been denied bail.   

Having personally endured a long period of sexual abuse, Sarah states “there is not a price you can do on the harm done.” 

She points to the trauma, long-term healing, time, energy and money that needs to be spent on therapy, finding oneself and redefining oneself separate from the traumatizing experience. 

If Kelly is convicted, Sarah says: “”The sentencing needs to be robust to send a message.” 

There’s no doubt that this trial will be unlike any other court case Kelly has endured, even though there are many fans out there still of strong belief that he will be able to fly, so to speak. 

At the end of the conversation Sarah shares with us her insight on how young people can intuitively feel when something is off and how they must speak up and turn to someone who is open and willing to help. With social media and a plethora of activists and movement groups – these are some of the people and resources anyone can turn to if they are uncertain and concerned. 

Sarah leaves us with a great lesson learnt in therapy: 

“Two things can co-exist: R Kelly could be one of the best musicians of all time. We can love his music, love his art…And he can be a pedophile and evil at the same time. Those two things can co-exist…When we allow our brains to understand that two things can co-exist, we can learn not everything is black and white.” 

With this ending there is a sense of hope and empowerment: more voices are heard and cases are seen, perhaps this will lead to more thorough investigations. 

Yasmine Tanres is an award-winning television host and multi-media journalist based in Los Angeles.

YASMINE TANRES is an award-winning television host and multi-media journalist based in Los Angeles. Originally from London, Yasmine is British with Spanish, Indonesian and Chinese heritage, has worked across Asia and Europe, and is proficient in Spanish, French and German. Her broad cultural perspective provides unique relatability to her reporting on social issues, climate change, lifestyle trends and pop culture. Buoyed by confidence and radiating sincerity, Yasmine elicits unexpected candor from her interviewees. Yasmine has worked across various digital platforms, including as an Entertainment Reporter on Fab TV and PopFuzion TV, interviewing an array of notable celebrities including Clive Owen, Seth Rogen, Emeli Sandé, Jason Mraz among others. Yasmine is the Lead News Anchor and Producer at Long Beach Local News. She started her career as a multimedia journalist at London360, the U.K.’s first youth-led news show partnered with the BBC, where she produced, self-shot, and edited content presenting compelling events of London’s diverse communities. Yasmine co-created, produced and hosted Talking TED Talks, a live video streaming podcast on Afterbuzz TV where she interviewed the speakers and affiliated experts on the myriad of topics explored in popular TED Talks. In recognition of her work, Yasmine has been prominently featured as an influential emerging journalist by Vents Magazine, Model Citizen and The Asian Today. When Yasmine isn’t out in the field, you can find her teaching or practicing yoga, engaging with her College Alumni group through charitable causes, or simply frolicking on sun-filled adventures with friends and family.

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Current Events

Why No One Is Truly Opposed to Dumb COVID Rules



A staffer holds up a sign to advise fans of the mandatory mask rule in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game between Tennessee and Colorado Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


Let’s face it. We all work in customer service. If you sell car insurance, you better be ready to provide speedy payment to your clients when a tree falls onto their Prius.

And if you’re a doctor who wants to keep his patients, you’d better treat them with respect. That means short waiting room times and pretending that their questions (“Does this rash mean I have cancer”) aren’t as crazy as they sound.

Then there are professionals in 100% service-based industries like marketing, law, and — GASP – government. For them, customer service is arguably the most important part of the job.

In these industries, clients don’t really understand what you do for them, so appearing to be responsive, empathetic, and on-top of things is half the job.

Which brings us to Joe Biden’s COVID speech on Thursday, where he laid out his “Winter Plan” to stop COVID’s seasonal spike that happens whenever the weather gets cold.

President Biden speaks at the National Institutes of Health, Dec. 2, 2021, in Bethesda, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Lurking in the background of Biden’s speech was the omicron variant, which some experts fear will bring new dangers to our shores.

The president proposed several interventions to dampen omicron and COVID’s winter spike, but if we’re being honest, his speech was really just a customer service exercise. It was President Joe Biden attempting to convince his clients – voters – that he’s responsive, empathetic, and on top of things.

As The Washington Post reported: “The president’s plan includes campaigns to increase vaccinations and booster shots, more stringent testing for international travelers and plans to make rapid at-home coronavirus testing free for more people.”

So basically… more of the same, plus an annoying COVID test if you travel internationally.

That doesn’t sound like much news at all.

(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

By now, we know that COVID policies like mandatory masking and compulsory testing aren’t going to deliver great results, especially in an increasingly vaccinated America. Deep down, most of us probably agree that these policies are more about creating the appearance that our leaders are on top of things than actually yielding compelling public health benefits.

But is there another way for Joe Biden? Should he just sit in the White House and do nothing, as his critics in the Republican Party demand?

And would President Ron DeSantis or President Nikki Haley really act differently, if given the chance? Would they want to be on the hook personally for preventable death, even if it meant burdening Americans with dumb masking and testing rules that cut against their small government philosophy?

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

The national debate surrounding COVID boils down to risk. The president and many others believe that added COVID mandates, as onerous as they may be, are worth it because they’ll save lives. Critics see it the other way. They believe that continuing to disrupt American life is causing greater damage to the economy and the nation’s social fabric than whatever the public health benefits these mandates may hold.

Both arguments are true. And that’s why it stinks to be the president.

Joe Biden’s bully pulpit has enormous power when it comes to shaping the world’s opinion about any given issue. Unfortunately, the virus isn’t listening.

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Alex “Keendawg” Keeney is a media personality whose work has been published widely. He has worked as a Congressional aide, TV writer, and marketing executive for the real Wolf of Wall Street. Follow him on Twitter @keendawg.

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Queen Nicki Leaves No Crumbs After Hosting the RHOP Reunion| The Tea



Plus, Kanye’s Heartbreak, Celebrity Illness shockers and Jen Shah’s legal woes just got worse.

On this episode of “The Tea” Ashley, Blake and Brie dive into celebrity illness and heartbreak. To share, or not to share, that is the question. 

Keep reading and watch the episode below for fresh takes on the latest entertainment and celebrity news shot live from the Erupt studio in Hollywood.

RIP Virgil Abloh

On Sunday November 28, the fashion and entertainment community lost designer and fashion visionary Virgil Abloh.

He was the first African American artistic director at Louis Vuitton and founded the renowned culture and streetwear brand Off-White.

Abloh kept his 2-year battle with cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare cancer of the heart, hidden from most. He was 41.

“The Tea” hosts discuss Abloh’s decision to keep his diagnosis a secret like some stars including Chadwick Boseman and Robin Williams, versus stars who choose to share their battles publicly, like Selma Blair and Christina Applegate.

(AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
(Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Kanye Wants His Family Back

Kanye West, who was a close friend to Virgil Abloh, took to social media over the weekend expressing his intention to bring his family back together. Saying that doing so would influence millions of other families to reconcile too.

As reported in earlier episodes of The Tea, there is speculation Ye’s estranged wife, Kim Kardashian, is currently dating comedian Pete Davidson.

Could Kimye 2.0 be in our future? The Tea hosts discuss.

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Jen Shah’s Right-Hand Man Pleads Guilty

Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star Jen Shah along with her personal assistant Stuart Smith were charged with fraud back in March.

Initially, Smith gave a not guilty plea but recently flipped his plea to guilty.

Shah still maintains her innocence.

(Bravo TV)

Nicki Hosts RHOP Reunion

Nicki Minaj took over Andy Cohen’s chair to host episode 4 of the Real Housewives of Potomac reunion and we are here for it!

Nicki didn’t hold back and asked all the questions we’ve been dying to know. On top of that, no housewife was spared. 

They all got the smoke-equally.

Could celebrity reunion hosts bring new life to the housewives’ franchise? 

The hosts discuss who we’d love to see host next.

Watch The Tea get spilled here:

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Current Events

The Omicron “Scary-iant” & Football Funny Money | Political Drinking Games




The Most Wonderful Time of the Year has just intersected with the most wonderful time of the week. 

By that I mean, it’s time to put a little Christmas spirit into Erupt’s political drinking games. 

On offer this week: 

  • The world has a new COVID variant. Congratulations, omicron! 
  • Twitter has a new CEO. Will he be as powerful as his predecessor, Jack Dorsey? 
  • CNN cancels Chris Cuomo (“suspends”) for using his anchorman powers to help embattled brother, Andrew 
  • The USA and EU cancel South Africa in COVID panic 
  • Trump’s top advisor sets a date with Congress to snitch on the Boss 
  • The NFL and College football continue to spend ridiculous amounts of money on truly ridiculous things.  
  • The term “Happy Holidays” gets put to rest. 


Curt Mills, contributing editor at The American Conservative and also a writer for Un-Herd. We’ll see how this silk-stocking Washington, D.C., columnist holds up in our chamber of pain.  


Alex “Keendawg” Keeney is a media personality whose work has been published widely. He has worked as a Congressional aide, TV writer, and marketing executive for the real Wolf of Wall Street. Follow him on Twitter @keendawg. 

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