Erykah Badu Offers “Prayer” for R. Kelly During Chicago Show

Erykah Badu took a moment during her concert last night at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago to say she’s “puttin’ up a prayer right now” for R. Kelly, TMZ points out. “I hope he sees the light of day if he’s done all those things that we’ve seen on TV and heard those ladies talk about,” she said in the below video. “I hope he sees the light of day and comes forward.” She received a mixed reaction from the audience; both cheers and boos can be heard from the crowd.

“But y’all say ‘fuck it!’ See, that’s not love. That’s not
unconditional. But what if one of the people that was assaulted by R.
Kelly grows up to be an offender, we gonna crucify them? I mean how do
we do this? Just something to think about.”

“They ’bout to R. Kelly me to death on the internet, I’m like god damn,” she said. She then called for “peace” and “healing for those who were hurt, because everybody involved has been hurt and victimized in some kind of way.” Pitchfork has reached out to Badu’s representatives for comment.

At the 2015 Soul Train Awards, Badu introduced Kelly and said that he “has done more for black people than anyone” despite his history of alleged abuse. Last year, she gave a controversial in-depth interview with David Marchese where she discussed XXXTentacion, Bill Cosby, and Hitler. “I see good in everybody,” she said. “I saw something good in Hitler…Hitler was a wonderful painter.”

The night the Lifetime docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly” premiered, it was revealed that Badu was among the several musicians that reportedly turned down the opportunity to be in the production. JAY-Z, Dave Chappelle, Questlove, and others also declined interviews.

“Surviving R. Kelly” featured interviews with women like Kelly’s ex-wife Andrea Kelly and Kitti Jones who have accused Kelly of abuse. Phoenix and Lady Gaga have apologized for working with Kelly in the past. Chance the Rapper, who gave an interview for the docuseries, said his collaboration with Kelly “was a mistake.” After the series aired, R. Kelly has denied all allegations of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls. He is no longer signed to Sony Music and RCA.

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15 photos from Epizode’s stunning Vietnamese island party

Epizode, based on the gorgeous Vietnamese island of Phú Quốc, brought the new year in with a stellar array of dance music over 11 days.

The festival took place from December 28 to January 8 and took names like Peggy Gou, Seth Troxler and DJ Stingray to the island.

The Epizode line-up also included Nina Kraviz, Ricardo Villalobos, Craig Richards, Richy Ahmed and Young Marco.

The festival offered open decks, workshops and art activities during the day before descending into a flurry of house, techno, minimal, drum ‘n’ bass and breakbeat at night, 24 hours a day for 11 days straight.

Check out some images below.

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Erykah Badu defends R. Kelly: “Everyone who’s been involved has been hurt”

Many musicians have publicly distanced themselves from R Kelly amidst allegations of sexual abuse. Even French Montana, who initially defended the embattled R&B singer, later issued a statement to express his support for Kelly’s alleged victims.

There is, however, at least one musician still willing to defend Kelly. While performing in Chicago on Saturday night, Erykah Badu paused her concert to “say a prayer right now for [Kelly].”

Badu initially acknowledged Kelly’s allegations — “I hope he sees the light of day if he’s done all those things we’ve seen on TV.” However, after some audience members began shouting, “Fuck him!”, Badu seemed to jump to Kelly’s defense.

“That’s not love. What if one of the people who was assaulted by R Kelly grows up to become an offender?” Badu asked. “We gonna crucify them too? How do we do this? Just something to think about.”

Badu acknowledged that her comments would be met with criticism. “They’re about to R Kelly me to death on the Internet,” she quipped, before adding, “I just want peace and love for everybody, healing for everybody. Healing for those who’ve been hurt, because everyone who’s been involved has been hurt.”

TMZ obtained video of Badu’s remarks, which you can watch below. As you’ll see, several audience members can be heard expressing their frustration with Badu and pleading with her to move on.

Badu’s on-stage comments arrive only three days after she raised eyebrows with an Instagram post that similarly offered her support for Kelly. “Having eyes that can see all points of view is a blessing… and a curse in the court of public opinion,” she wrote in a caption. When a fan accused her of supporting a “rapist and paedophile as your brother,” Badu responded: “Correction, love has little to do with supporting others’ bad choices. Love is wisdom.”

At the 2015 Soul Train Awards, Badu introduced Kelly by saying he “has done more for black people than anyone.”

It should be noted that Badu was one of many celebrities who declined to take part in Lifetime’s Surviving R Kelly docu-series.

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Go Dark – Neon Young

On paper, the concept of prismatic duo Go Dark sounds like the cyberpunk rebellion we need for these fractured times. It’s a timeless story, really: the displaced youth (played by Ashley ‘Crash’ Gallegos) finds a new calling among the art circles of Chicago and Oakland, while a veteran outsider (played by Adam ‘Doseone’ Drucker) finds an explosive new talent to collab with. And to be fair, Neon Young gathers tons of noble ideas together, bumping pop into hyperdrive to keep up with the entrenched misogyny of America. But as much as our heroes strive to pound messages in our ears, the actual impact gets garbled in the shuffle; for all her energy, Crash barely scrapes out of her own skirmishes.

It’s bizarre, really. The moment that you first plug into ‘The Blade’ feels like sensory overload, even if you could spot Doseone’s helter-skelter beats from a mile away. Yet, by the time we reach ‘Numb’, the frantic ping-pong of one song’s three hooks begins to blur with the table tennis of another song. Moments stand out before actual melodies, like the momentum behind the vow “I am murderous”, or the point when Doseone growls “and they like ‘em dumb in response to Crash’s all-too-true refrain “the world loves a beautiful bitch”.

What’s worse, Crash sounds rather squashed between the digital calamity. I’m reminded of how much Gang Gang Dance’s Lizzi Bougatsos pulled back her own reins on last year’s Kazuashita, and how much that disappointed me. But that was a deliberate reel-back; and when I revisit Gang Gang’s world, I realise that Bougatsos wore that blush well. But back in Neon Young, the cinematic, almost Young Fathers-ish ode ‘Big Rot’ calls for indignation that Crash just doesn’t rise up to til the end. “For you I will rot,” she chants, miming a woman still bound to men’s desires; you can hear the spite she intended to spit in, but only in a MIDI-dry form.

Still, Crash and Dose at least have their hearts set in the right place. Indeed, their most cohesive song is also the most noble of the bunch – ‘El Barrio’, a moody ballad with an ounce of dignified soul (a la Algiers, anyway), speaks to the criminalized minorities that cycle in and out of prison. The actual ambient sirens promised in the presser turn up rather tastefully here – after all, for pretty much anyone living in or near a non-white neighborhood, police sirens are just part of the daily noise.

Alas, while Neon Young rattles with more justifiable rage than many punk bands could even begin to articulate, some crucial spark still feels absent. In my head, I try to imagine what would happen if ‘The Blade’ – Go Dark’s most obvious attempts at a swaggering pop anthem – suddenly popped up after Pharrell’s ‘Happiness’ or Bruno Mars’ ‘24K Magic’ in a crowded room. Maybe a few curious minds would hear Crash cry “There’s no wild in you” over the din and wonder what stifled their primitive side. But me, I still wonder if that coded call-to-action would be enough to tip the audiophile’s attention away from the big stars in the status quo to the aforementioned rebellion in the streets.


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