An Open Letter to Jay Z by R. Kelly (by Brandon Ogborn)

(Illustration by Greg Wilson)
(Illustration by Greg Wilson)



How you been? You don’t need to tell me because it looks like you’re doing great! It seems like since we did that Best of Both Worlds Tour in 2004, your world got bigger and mine – I’ll be honest, is shrinking.


So much has changed since then. You’re with Beyonce now – (damn dawg!), killing it with Kanye West like every other month on some track – (I’m jealz, nobody hollas at me like that for help!), and that big profile in Vanity Fair was A-MAZE-ING. Shit, I have to put heat on old girlfriends that work at The Source just to get a quarter page these days. I don’t know how you do it, S. Dot. One month we’re equals, sharing the stage to sold out crowds on a joint tour and less than 10 years later, you’re running restaurants, sports management – top o’ da world, while and I’m getting booted off a pretty damn good Lady Gaga song.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately and I’m starting to feel that maybe this has something to do with me raping underage girls.

I’m not certain, but those times that I’d wait in an SUV outside South and West Side Chicago middle and high schools to systematically seduce and intimidate underage girls into increasingly bizarre sexual situations – many times group-oriented, could have something to do with this black cloud hanging over my creative inspirations. I paid most of their families off, (they were hood poor, so it didn’t take much, except those girls that attempted suicide after years of continued, monstrous oppression by me). You’d think that’d make things go away. I mean, you dealt crack, Hov, so you get it. While you were peddling the rock, I was at Rock N’ Roll McDonald’s, picking up girls on their prom night, promising them a future in music, debasing them sexually and later coercing them into abortions that would haunt them for the rest of their lives.

Maybe I need to mix it up a bit to get out of this creative block. Crooning about wet booties and bump n’ grinding for 20 plus years is getting stale. I almost feel like my “voice” – if that’s the right word, is still there, but my heart’s not in it any more.

I know you don’t like me to talk about this stuff. I remember when the first allegations came out during our tour, you were like, “Is this true?” and I was like, (long pause), “Nope.” And it was beating me up that whole tour, all 24 of those 40 planned shows. I was showing up late to rehearsals with you, complaining about the stage lighting, just being erratic. At Madison Square Garden on October 29 – as we all know, I really lost it. I was certain that I saw thugs in the crowd waving guns at me, that’s why I left stage. But know, in hindsight, those were aberrations from my confused mind, metaphorical “bad guys”, mythical “shadows” coming after me for my past sins – particularly repetitively raping children and destroying their hopes for a normal life.

And I get why your crew was fed up with me that night for walking off like a loser and leaving you holding the bag. Heck, I even forgive your buddy Ty Ty for pepper spraying me on my way backstage. I was being a jerk. And I feel even worse for suing you for $75 million the next day for breach of contract. Now I see the only thing we breached was our relationship, Jay, our hearts.

What you said that night to the audience, “We don’t need that nigga!” still hurts. Sometimes, after a night of clubbing with my entourage, after I say, “These bitches wack,” and make my bodyguards set me up with a girl that’s legally a child, after I violate and debase her, I’ll sometimes go into the bathroom and look into the mirror and think, “Maybe Jay was right, we don’t need this nigga no more.”

I don’t want to freak you out. I’m not suicidal or anything. I’m just in a pretty dark place right now. Frankly, I’m writing this to you because I think working together again could be a ton of fun, and really helpful for me emotionally. I just want to get out there again with you and crush it, you know.

You’re just so fun, man, and I miss that. You, B, Ye. You guys are doing really challenging work, lyrically, artistically. You’re like blowing conceptions out of the water. And I feel like I’m still that “slow-jamz” guy in a white suit and sunglasses trying to heat up a middle school dance. I know that’s dramatic, but it’s just how I feel right now. I even tried getting white people on board by doing Pitchfork. But there were just too many hipsters that don’t like knowing my songs are about having sex with children. And here I thought irony would be to my benefit!

Anyway, these aren’t your problems, Jay, they’re mine. You’ve got a busy career in a dozen different arenas and a little girl to raise, (how old is she now btw?). What can I say? “The ends justify the means,” right? In most countries, guys like me go to prison – some have them publicly executed or castrated, (snap!). Here, I guess, people just slowly stop wanting to hear your music.

I get if you don’t want to record or tour again, totally understand. But I’d love to hang either way, even if it’s just watching South Park or something. You hear that show’s over? Sad, man.

Toot-toot, beep beep,

-R. Kelly


Brandon Ogborn is an actor, writer and director in Chicago. He’s studied and performed improv at Annoyance, The Second City, iO Chicago and Upstairs Gallery. His short films have screened at international festivals and his critically acclaimed play, The TomKat Project, has swept Chicago for the last year, headlining FringeNYC 2013 and appearing in Los Angeles at iO West. He co-created the web series, Young Couple, which can be seen at

More info at