**Warning** The following description and the content of this event contains information and discussions of sexual abuse which some readers may find triggering.
In November 2000, after receiving an anonymous fax alleging that singer R. Kelly had a “problem with young girls,” journalist Jim DeRogatis broke the story wide open. DeRogatis thought his investigative journalism would have an impact; instead Kelly’s career flourished. Now, close to twenty years later, the full story will finally be told. Soulless is the only book to tell this complete story, as well as the story behind the story, by the only person to tell it - Jim DeRogatis.
About the Book
In November 2000, after receiving an anonymous fax alleging that singer R. Kelly had a “problem with young girls,” journalist Jim DeRogatis broke the story wide open, publishing the shocking allegations that the R&B superstar had groomed girls, sexually abused them, and paid them off. DeRogatis thought his investigative journalism would have an impact; instead Kelly’s career flourished.
Now, close to twenty years later, the full story will finally be told. Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly (Abrams Press; June 4, 2019; U.S. $26.00; Hardcover) by Jim DeRogatis is a darkly riveting account of the life and actions of R. Kelly, and their horrible impact on dozens of girls. A work of tenacious journalism and powerful cultural criticism, the book tells the story of Kelly’s career and DeRogatis’s investigations, including in-depth interviews with a number of key figures who have never spoken publicly before, and brings the story up to the moment when things finally seem to have changed.
This past January, the docuseries Surviving R. Kelly reignited the public interest in Kelly. Later that month, RCA Records dropped him from their label. In February, he was indicted in Chicago on ten counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. However, before the recent outcry from the docuseries, no one seemed to care: not the music industry, not the culture at large, not the parents of numerous other young girls. But DeRogatis stayed on the story. He was the one who was given the disturbing videotape that led to Kelly’s 2008 child pornography trial, the one whose window was shot out, and the one women trusted to tell their stories—of a meeting with the superstar in a classroom, a mall, a concert, or a McDonald’s that forever warped the course of their lives.
Soulless is the only book to tell this complete story, as well as the story behind the story, by the only person to tell it.
About the Author
Jim DeRogatis is an associate professor of instruction at Columbia College Chicago and the host, with Greg Kot, of the nationally syndicated public radio show Sound Opinions. DeRogatis spent fifteen years as the pop music critic at the Chicago Sun-Times. He lives in Chicago.
“An absorbing, horrifying, and damning book. … Soulless is an important testament of DeRogatis’ slog towards justice, and of the forces that have seemingly cosseted R. Kelly and his career … It’s also a journalistic indictment: of Kelly himself; of the political machinery of Chicago; and of the music industry. … An essential book.”—NPR.org
“Kelly’s dirty secrets are revealed in this book, and so is the wide gap between true justice and the law.”—AV Club
“Essential … the culmination of DeRogatis’ career reporting on Kelly’s alleged behavior.”—USA Today
“A comprehensive document of the many allegations of statutory rape, sexual assault, and physical and psychological abuse levied against R. Kelly dating back to 1991. … packed start to finish.”—Vulture
“DeRogatis blends investigative journalism, pop cultural criticism, and social commentary … [Soulless] is unflinching in its indictment of a culture and legal system unable to render any semblance of justice for black girls. … Soulless is the kind of intervention we need, especially when the stakes are this high.”—LitHub
“A devastating, thorough accounting of Kelly’s alleged abuses as systematized predation. In explicitly outlining the multiple junctures at which Kelly, his supporters, law enforcement, and journalists have failed the dozens of young black women whom Kelly is accused of abusing, DeRogatis definitively—if also wearily—conveys the sheer magnitude of Kelly’s relative impunity.”—The Atlantic
“More than a straight-forward account of Kelly’s wrongdoing … Soulless offers a dogged combination of biography, investigative reporting, and cultural criticism. … As much as Soulless is an account of Kelly’s misbehavior, it’s a finger firmly pointed in the direction of the people and institutions that enabled, and even encouraged, him.”—Pitchfork