R. Kelly case poses challenge: Separating artist from anthem

U.S. & World News
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R. Kelly and his publicist Darryll Johnson, right, leave The Daley Center after an appearance in court for Kelly’s child support case, Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Chicago. (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

DETROIT (AP) – The dilemma of separating the sides of R. Kelly, who faces 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse, now confronts millions who listen to or perform his music.
  
It’s perhaps most acute when it comes to “I Believe I Can Fly.” The Grammy-winning ballad released in 1996 has made its way into movies and been performed in countless reality shows, church services, as well as school concerts and graduation ceremonies. Children are even singing it bilingually.
  
Motown Records alum Paul Riser Sr. wrote the orchestral parts for Kelly’s hit song and directed the backing musicians in Detroit in the mid-1990s. He says he’s troubled by the allegations and believes the victims, but the song’s inspirational message has a life beyond its creator.
  
Kelly has denied wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty.
  
Meanwhile, a judge says cameras will be allowed in the courtroom during R. Kelly’s sexual abuse trial and pretrial hearings.
  
Cook County Associate Judge Lawrence Flood said during a brief hearing Friday that cameras will be allowed going forward, including at the next hearing on March 22. He says photos and video of accusers won’t be allowed without their consent, and that two have already expressed that they don’t give their consent.
  
The Grammy-winning R&B singer didn’t attend the hearing, but his lawyer did.
  
Another judge in the same courthouse has yet to decide if he’ll allow cameras in court in “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett’s case.
  
Cameras were allowed in court during the trial of Jason Van Dyke, a white former Chicago police officer convicted in the shooting death of black teenager Laquan McDonald.

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