Even as he fights multiple child pornography charges, singer R. Kelly is back on tour, and he tells Primetime Live, "I'm going to do my music until The Man comes to get me."
"I'm a good person, man. I love people," the R&B star, best known for 1996's smash hit "I Believe I Can Fly," told Primetime Live's Jay Schadler. The interview, airing Thursday on ABC, was conducted late last year.
"People need to understand that R. Kelly is not who they think," he said. "But it's who I know. You know? I'm not perfect. I'm not some Jesus that people should worship."
Kelly, 37, is facing felony charges stemming from allegations that he videotaped sex acts with a girl who, according to Chicago police, was 14 years old at the time. The singer, who denies any wrongdoing, is due back in court Nov. 4.
On Sunday, Kelly and rapper Jay-Z kicked off their long-awaited "Best of Both Worlds Tour" in Chicago. The duo are slated to visit 40 cities over the next few months to promote their second collaboration, Best of Both Worlds: Unfinished Business.
The tour was originally planned for 2002, but was put on hold when copies began to circulate of a videotape showing a man purported to be Kelly engaged in a variety of graphic sex acts with a seemingly very young woman.
‘I’m No Devil’
The singer maintains he is innocent. However, he told Primetime he's not exactly a role model.
"I don't have a Bible out that people should read, you know?" Kelly said. "And I don't have an 'S' across my chest. … But I am not no demon, I'm no devil, I'm no criminal, I'm no guy here that's trying to hurt people, rob, steal. … I've been through that. I had my chance to do that, and I turned that away.
"I do my music," he added. "And I'm going to do my music until The Man comes to get me."
It's been alleged that Kelly has a pattern of involvement with underage girls. The singer, whose birth name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was charged with multiple child porn counts in Florida for photos allegedly showing him having sex with the same underage girl allegedly involved in the Chicago incident, but those charges were thrown out when a judge ruled investigators had illegally seized the material from Kelly's home.
Kelly was also at the center of a scandal in 1994, when rumors surfaced that he was married to R&B singer Aaliyah, who was just 15 at the time. The pair reportedly got an annulment, and the stories did not hurt either singer's career. Aaliyah was breaking into movies when she was killed in a 2001 plane crash.
Schadler asked Kelly, "Do you think that it is immoral for an older man to have sex with an underage girl?
"If they're in love," Kelly replied, "I really can't be the judge of that."
Kelly also has faced civil suits from several young women who alleged he had sex with them while they were underage.
"When there's blood in the water," he said, "here come the sharks."