Soulless
The essential account of R. Kelly’s actions and their consequences, a reckoning two decades in the making   In November 2000, Chicago journalist and music critic Jim DeRogatis received an anonymous fax that alleged R. Kelly had a problem with “young girls.” Weeks later, DeRogatis broke the shocking story, publishing allegations that the R&B superstar and local hero had groomed girls, sexually abused them, and paid them off. DeRogatis thought his work would have an impact. Instead, Kelly’s career flourished. No one seemed to care: not the music industry, not the culture at large, not the parents of numerous other young girls. But for more than eighteen years, 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 whom women trusted to tell their stories—of a meeting with the superstar at a classroom, a mall, a concert, or a McDonald’s that forever warped the course of their lives.Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly is DeRogatis’s masterpiece, a work of tenacious journalism and powerful cultural criticism. It tells the story of Kelly’s career, DeRogatis’s investigations, and the world in which the two crossed paths, and brings the story up to the moment when things finally seem to have changed. Decades in the making, this is an outrageous, darkly riveting account of the life and actions of R. Kelly, and their horrible impact on dozens of girls, by the only person to tell it.

Soulless Details

TitleSoulless
Author
ReleaseJun 4th, 2019
PublisherHarry N. Abrams
ISBN-139781419740077
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Crime, True Crime, Music, Biography, Mystery

Soulless Review

  • Jennie
    January 1, 1970
    Truly disturbing. DeRogatis started reporting on Kelly's sexual abuse of women and children back in 2000 and the book tracks that history in full up until the present day. Not exactly leisure reading, but important and emotional. DeRogatis for the most part tells the history well. He gets a little repetitive in a couple of places and I found myself wishing he would trust the reader more to remember details. Then again, there are lots of details in a book like this, so I understand why he might w Truly disturbing. DeRogatis started reporting on Kelly's sexual abuse of women and children back in 2000 and the book tracks that history in full up until the present day. Not exactly leisure reading, but important and emotional. DeRogatis for the most part tells the history well. He gets a little repetitive in a couple of places and I found myself wishing he would trust the reader more to remember details. Then again, there are lots of details in a book like this, so I understand why he might want to repeat a few of them when revisiting a topic.
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  • Ian Alexander
    January 1, 1970
    Incredible reporting coupled with Jim's compelling turn of phrase. This is the definitive account of what is hopefully the end of R. Kelly. Jim never gave up on this story, ran down all of the leads and tells a story that champions journalism and its heroes, in this case poor, black girls that no one but Jim gave a damn about. Well done!
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  • Brandon Forsyth
    January 1, 1970
    I don’t use the word “heroic” very often, but it’s hard to think of another adjective to describe Jim DeRogatis’ reporting on the R. Kelly story.
  • Amar Pai
    January 1, 1970
    Salute to Jim DeRogatis for doggedly pursuing this story over the years. His reporting was brave, and he never gave up on the girls. R. Kelly has been molesting, controlling and abusing young girls for many years-- a seemingly endless parade of young girls-- and he's done it out in the open, defiantly.. A lot of the credit for finally ending this nightmarish situation goes to DeRogatis. Hopefully R. Kelly will face real consequences now that the truth is out. He's beyond cancelled.
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  • Sionainn Ditto
    January 1, 1970
    One of the earliest memories I had of R. Kelly was when I was around 7/8 years old in 2003/2004 and I was playing at a friend’s house. We played Totally Spies and ran around her house pretending to be undercover. Occasionally we would stop and eat snacks in front of the TV. I don’t remember us watching MTV very often, but for whatever reason it was on and various artists songs were playing in the background as we swallowed Goldfish by the handful. The music video for “I Believe I Can Fly” starte One of the earliest memories I had of R. Kelly was when I was around 7/8 years old in 2003/2004 and I was playing at a friend’s house. We played Totally Spies and ran around her house pretending to be undercover. Occasionally we would stop and eat snacks in front of the TV. I don’t remember us watching MTV very often, but for whatever reason it was on and various artists songs were playing in the background as we swallowed Goldfish by the handful. The music video for “I Believe I Can Fly” started playing and I stopped in front of the widescreen TV, and thought about how much I liked the song. My friend then came up to me and pushed me and said, “Don’t you know about this guy?” and I, sufficiently intrigued, said “No, tell me”. She refused and I chased her around the house until she told me. We giggled and jumped on her mom’s bed, and when we stopped for a second, huffing and puffing, she leaned in and whispered in my ear and said, “That guy likes little girls”. And then she ran off laughing while I tried to catch my breath. I didn’t know what that meant, and I’m sure my best friend didn’t either, but it left a disgusting rolling pit of snakes in my stomach. I walked out of her mom’s room and looked back at the TV screen. For whatever reason, at that moment, the image of R. Kelly in a field (of wheat? Corn?) as he raised up his arms to a bright blue sky intertwined with the phrase “He likes little girls”. Ever since then, I couldn’t hear the song “I Believe I Can Fly” without thinking immediately of what my friend whispered in my ear. I didn’t even find out R. Kelly’s name until later – I knew he was a pedophile before I knew his name. So how is it that a 7/8-year-old in the middle of Nowhere, Florida knew that R. Kelly was a pedophile and the people who were the closest didn’t? The answer is that they did know. They all knew. And they not only let it happen, but enabled, supported, defended, and praised while he did it. Cops, publicists, lawyers, judges, associates, friends, artists, bodyguards, the record companies like Jive Records, all profited while he gleefully and unrepentantly raped and humiliated underage girls – the emphasis on girls, because whenever I read an article that refers to them as women, I can’t help but wonder if that’s a technique to make sure that we don’t see black girls as girls. Instead adulthood and the loss of innocence is forced on them – it’s the “adultification” of young black girls. They always joked that R. Kelly “liked them young” and, in a disgusting turn of events, it became a cultural joke showing that, like Jim DeRogatis said, “Nobody matters less in our society than young black girls.” I’ve been following the R. Kelly reporting since around 2017 – my friend’s “He likes little girls” echoing in my head all the while – and I watched “Surviving R. Kelly” when it came out on Lifetime in 2018. But Chicago Sun-Times music reporter Jim DeRogatis has been reporting on the case since 2000, ever since he got an anonymous fax from a woman alleging that “Robert has a problem. His problem is young girls.” And for the next 19 years he’s been trying to get justice for countless black women who have approached him claiming that R. Kelly has abused them. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book – was it going to be interviews with the women? A linear account of R. Kelly’s sex trafficking? – however, a lot like Spotlight, this is a non-fiction account of a story that snowballed until predominantly three journalists – Jim DeRogatis, Abdon Pallasch, Mary Mitchell- uncovered the truth about R. Kelly that no one wanted to know about. To their utmost horror, they realized that cops knew about Kelly prowling the Rock N Roll McDonalds for underage girls, but did nothing. Managers, publicists, everyone joked about his “hypersexuality” and turned their heads when he married his 15-year-old protégée, Aaliyah, who refused to talk about him until her tragic death in 2001 except to say he was a “bad” man. Next to the behemoth of R. Kelly, the black women accusing him were considered to be money-grabbing liars. DeRogatis documents the slow roll of accusations he found, the whispers, and the sex-tape that became a national joke – the “pee tape” - despite the fact that it shows a brutal statutory rape. Despite the threats – and a very scary shooting in his safe neighborhood that may or may not be linked to his R. Kelly research – DeRogatis never stopped trying to get justice for the women who called him at all hours, telling him their stories. What I ultimately deeply admire about DeRogatis is that he never distracts from the fact that this is about black women and about how black women are victimized in a society that ultimately refuses to acknowledge them as people. Black women matter so little, that the rape of a 14-year-old girl was reduced to a fetish that people giggled about - "he likes little girls".48 women have come forward against R. Kelly and two questions are at the forefront of my mind: 1. How many more black women need to come forward before R. Kelly is sent to prison? 2. How many white girls would it have taken…?
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  • Ryan
    January 1, 1970
    The last thing I expected was to read a book about R. Kelly this year. I've never listened to his music. I wouldn't even be able to identify him in a line-up. That's how little I know or care about R. Kelly.Nevertheless, I had a birthday gift certificate to spend at Barnes & Noble and saw this book on the New Releases table. I picked it up and read the cover. Turns out, R. Kelly has a long multi-decade history of abusing underage girls. This book dovetailed perfectly with other reading I've The last thing I expected was to read a book about R. Kelly this year. I've never listened to his music. I wouldn't even be able to identify him in a line-up. That's how little I know or care about R. Kelly.Nevertheless, I had a birthday gift certificate to spend at Barnes & Noble and saw this book on the New Releases table. I picked it up and read the cover. Turns out, R. Kelly has a long multi-decade history of abusing underage girls. This book dovetailed perfectly with other reading I've done on this rather unpleasant topic.So I bought it and read it.This book was just published June 2019. Some of the information included in the book is as recent as spring of 2019. And just days ago, R. Kelly was arrested on July 11 on federal child pornography charges. It's all extremely timely and relevant.As in the case of Epstein, R. Kelly had been put on trial more than 10 years ago. Yet the outcome of that trial was not the one that was desired, and R. Kelly continued his illicit behavior for many more years. It's such a shame that our justice system does not provide equal justice when it comes to the rich and powerful. I hope, this time, it's different.As far as the book itself, I found it a little slow-going in the first couple chapters, which dealt a lot with R. Kelly's childhood and teen years. They are necessary chapters. But given my lack of interest in R. Kelly's music or career, it wasn't something that really grabbed my attention.Fortunately, the book quickly picks up steam. By the end, it's moving along like a freight train. I blazed through the last hundred pages.Big kudos to author Jim DeRogatis for sticking with this story for so long even in the face of negative repercussions. He's done a great service to the victims, to Chicago, and to the entire United States. He has my respect.For further reading, I recommend these excellent titles (I have reviewed all of them here on GoodReads):* Filthy Rich by James Patterson* The Franklin Scandal by Nick Bryant* Confessions of a D.C. Madam by Henry Vinson* TRANCE: Formation of America by Cathy O'Brien
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  • Cara Deane
    January 1, 1970
    Soulless: The Case Against R Kelly by Jim DeRogatis. Man.. I read this book this weekend. As riveting as Surviving R Kelly was— this book is basically a written documentary but with 20+ years of an investigative journalist stalking R Kelly. Deservedly. Unapologetically. This is WELL written and the author is at times a kick in the pants. But what he details in its pages, is a cautionary tale to all— that we can’t just turn the other cheek and act like the devil isn’t sitting right in front of us Soulless: The Case Against R Kelly by Jim DeRogatis. Man.. I read this book this weekend. As riveting as Surviving R Kelly was— this book is basically a written documentary but with 20+ years of an investigative journalist stalking R Kelly. Deservedly. Unapologetically. This is WELL written and the author is at times a kick in the pants. But what he details in its pages, is a cautionary tale to all— that we can’t just turn the other cheek and act like the devil isn’t sitting right in front of us. So many epic fails at every level. This one won’t disappoint. #read #knowledgeispower
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  • Nick Spacek
    January 1, 1970
    absurdly well-written, exhaustively researched, and personal enough to make a connection with the reader, but keeping derogatis from being the book's focus. i burned through this book in 24 hours and feel gutpunched after reading it.
  • Lexi
    January 1, 1970
    Audiobook. This could have been so unwieldy given the author spent 19 years reporting on this disgrace. Instead, it’s clear, moves quickly but with detail and is an incredible and convincing work (not that you wouldn’t already be convinced, hopefully). Really excellent piece of work. I like that producers left in several takes where De Rogatis doesn’t pretend he wasn’t impacted by these women, and his voice breaks a little when speaking about their testimonies. It’s tough to say it’s enjoyable g Audiobook. This could have been so unwieldy given the author spent 19 years reporting on this disgrace. Instead, it’s clear, moves quickly but with detail and is an incredible and convincing work (not that you wouldn’t already be convinced, hopefully). Really excellent piece of work. I like that producers left in several takes where De Rogatis doesn’t pretend he wasn’t impacted by these women, and his voice breaks a little when speaking about their testimonies. It’s tough to say it’s enjoyable given the subject but it’s impactful and good.
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    For the exhaustive effort and work this author has put in for the last nineteen years investigating allegations about R Kelly, I give the book a million stars. This author is a true hero to me- never giving up on this story and these women. I did find the book a little long with a little too much detail but I can’t bear to decrease the rating because this man listened to women being abused and freaking did something about it! I would highly recommend his interview on Fresh Air if you would an ov For the exhaustive effort and work this author has put in for the last nineteen years investigating allegations about R Kelly, I give the book a million stars. This author is a true hero to me- never giving up on this story and these women. I did find the book a little long with a little too much detail but I can’t bear to decrease the rating because this man listened to women being abused and freaking did something about it! I would highly recommend his interview on Fresh Air if you would an overview.
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  • Phil Overeem
    January 1, 1970
    You might think you don't need or want to read this, but you do. It's an important work of journalism, and of cultural criticism. Plus, it is brave as can be--and dedicated to the truth as rationally as it can be described. And it is a book of this moment.
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  • Kerry
    January 1, 1970
    “The saddest fact I’ve learned is nobody matters less to our society than young black women”. This is an excellent report of one journalist’s attempts over a 20 year period to reveal the truth about R. Kelly.
  • Sarah Paolantonio
    January 1, 1970
    After watching all of Surviving R. Kelly when I heard about this book I knew I would buy and read it. I want to support the spreading of this story as much as I can as an individual. The story is familiar to me. I had been following along since Jessica Hopper interviewed DeRogatis for The Village Voice years ago. I have a vivid memory of being at a party at my sister's house when "Ignition (Remix)" came on and her and her college friends made a stink about me protesting it. Eventually I got them After watching all of Surviving R. Kelly when I heard about this book I knew I would buy and read it. I want to support the spreading of this story as much as I can as an individual. The story is familiar to me. I had been following along since Jessica Hopper interviewed DeRogatis for The Village Voice years ago. I have a vivid memory of being at a party at my sister's house when "Ignition (Remix)" came on and her and her college friends made a stink about me protesting it. Eventually I got them to turn it off. I also remember 'Trapped In The Closet' being EVERYWHERE when I was in college but I ignored it, thinking it was dumb. I'm proud to this day to say I've never seen a second of it. I remember when IFC aired it though, which DeRogatis mentions, and ignoring it then too. I couldn't figure out why they were airing it to begin with. Probably as a joke. So many people treated the crimes he committed as a joke for so long. After having read this and watching Surviving R. Kelly it's incredibly upsetting. Just as I was finishing this book, R. Kelly had been arrested AGAIN. And it felt like, AGAIN, justice would be served. This book is a very wide ranging information dump. The amount of information between law proceedings, interviews, law records, depositions, contacts, stories, books written by those involved (including Kelly's 'Soulacoaster'), and DeRogatis' 18 years of reporting is overwhelming and can get confusing. Still, I tore through this book reading it in about a week's time. It was hard to read, but not as difficult as it was listening to the survivors retell their stories for Surviving R. Kelly. DeRogatis' 'Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly' was hard to read because of his reporting: everything had been laid out for two decades and no one did a thing to stop R. Kelly. Jive Records making billions--that's with a b--off his music and the music he helped others write and produce is the tip of the infuriating iceberg. Yet another man with enough money can do whatever he wants: the American way. This book is a feat of reporting and tolerance. DeRogatis does a great job providing background on certain lawyers, judges, and himself: where he came from as a music fan, critic, person, and as a reporter. He understands this story chose him because he was the pop music critic at The Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago is of course Kelly's hometown. The story found its way to DeRogatis and he kept following it because his instincts have always been right. Rarely does he stray from the story and if he does, it serves a purpose. DeRogatis notes when he did or didn't interview someone and when someone was reached for comment and whether or not they commented. He stuck to the rules (although I wonder why there isn't an index or bibliography). The story about him having to testify in Chicago as a journalist is nail biting. No wonder he teaches "instruction" at Columbia College in Chicago in the Creative Writing and English Departments he has been through the weeds on this story for close to two decades. The years of chasing a story taught him well and it shows in the pages of this book. This book is an excellent companion to Surviving R. Kelly. If you are remotely interested in the story, consume both. I've noticed there hasn't been too much press regarding this book's release (early June 2019) because many of the music critics of the mainstream gave R. Kelly a pass for decades, writing about and complimenting his music, and having him headline their festivals. DeRogatis calls them all out on it. I've seen pieces in The NYT, The New Yorker (by Jim himself), Pitchfork, Vulture, NPR, and Rolling Stone. I'm sure there are more but I expected this book to be plastered as far and wide as Surviving R. Kelly was. I suppose people watch more than read. I also assume many critics feel shame for their support of a pedophile, serial sexual abuser, and violent man. Everything about R. Kelly is absolutely disgusting and I truly hope they get him behind bars for the rest of his life. Owning this book and seeing his name on my bookshelf, I'll have to deal with it. But we must face the music and what lies beneath it. I agree with DeRogatis: this music and artist cannot be separated. Not many can these days.
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  • Lacey
    January 1, 1970
    "The saddest fact I've learned is nobody matters less to our society than young black women. Nobody.""Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly" lays out the crimes against R. Kelly in a straightforward and riveting way. I hesitate to say that journalist John DeRogatis broke the story about R. Kelly; from what he wrote, R. Kelly's illegal predilections were an open secret among his family members and acquaintances for decades. That was, in fact, one of the most surprising things I learned from the boo "The saddest fact I've learned is nobody matters less to our society than young black women. Nobody.""Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly" lays out the crimes against R. Kelly in a straightforward and riveting way. I hesitate to say that journalist John DeRogatis broke the story about R. Kelly; from what he wrote, R. Kelly's illegal predilections were an open secret among his family members and acquaintances for decades. That was, in fact, one of the most surprising things I learned from the book. None of DeRogatis' sources denied or even seemed that surprised by the allegations against the singer. Many of them said "the brotha needed help."But, acting on a tip he received from an anonymous fax in 2000, DeRogatis' and partner Abdon Pallasch were the first to investigate and report the full extent of the singer's predatory behaviors. They then spent the next 25 years investigating accusations against the singer and telling the survivors stories. Part true crime expose, part journalism case study, this book is a culmination of those many years of work. In it, we learn more about R. Kelly, the people who surrounded him, the women he victimized and the authorities who tried to put a stop to it. R. Kelly's legal troubles began way before the 2008 trial; the first civil case to be brought against him was filed in 1996 by a 15-year-old girl from Chicago. The book also briefly covers the singer's short marriage to Aaliyah — an event I always assumed was a perverted rumor. Turns out, actually R. Kelly married his 15-year-old protege when he was 28. After annulling the marriage, Aaliyah would break off all contact with Kelly and would later say he was "just a bad dude." That description gets repeated a lot by many women.DeRogatis also makes the case against society. After his story hit the papers in 2000, he was astounded by how little people cared. Even after his indictment, R. Kelly was still selling out concerts and albums, artists and organizations were still eager to work with him, and fans, many of them black women themselves, were still falling all over themselves for a chance to hear the singer live or meet him. So many people within his inner circle and in the industry not only ignored his behavior, they actively enabled it.DeRogatis points out how when the singer was on trial in 2008, people treated it as a joke — mocking the "pee tape" — rather than the horrifying crime it was: the production of child pornography through the rape of an underage girl. DeRogatis himself became a derisive target of other critics and journalists who commented that his critique of the singer's personal life was uncalled for, too serious and too vulgar than what the music pages called for. That at the end of the day, they were just supposed to talk about the music.(He and the paper also got a lot of flak for turning over the tape to the police, citing blah blah first amendment, blah blah freedom of the press. These criticisms ignore the fact that they handed over the tape of their own violation because of the criminal offense depicted on the tape.)I learned so much about the case surrounding R. Kelly than I could ever list out here. I'll just repeat that it's galling how premeditated and predatorial the singer's behavior is. He is a danger and a violent threat to young women, and I hope that this time around, the justice system ensures he's kept separate from society for a long time. This is a definite recommend. These women's stories have been ignored for too long.
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  • Bradley
    January 1, 1970
    In November 2000, DeRogatis received an anonymous fax that would change his life. The fax alleged that R&B singer R. Kelly had a problem with underage girls which immediately sparked an investigation by DeRogatis that has been ongoing for nearly two decades. As the journalist who broke that story and has consistently been covering it for 19 years, DeRogatis documents his journey proving that Kelly had exhibited consistent predatory behaviors against underage girls from the earliest allegatio In November 2000, DeRogatis received an anonymous fax that would change his life. The fax alleged that R&B singer R. Kelly had a problem with underage girls which immediately sparked an investigation by DeRogatis that has been ongoing for nearly two decades. As the journalist who broke that story and has consistently been covering it for 19 years, DeRogatis documents his journey proving that Kelly had exhibited consistent predatory behaviors against underage girls from the earliest allegations in 1991 to how those patterns of behavior evolved to include an alleged sex cult of brainwashed women in 2019. Often alone in this journalistic endeavor, though aided by his writing partner Abdon Pallasch, DeRogatis received pushback from politicians, law enforcement, lawyers, journalists, music critics, Kelly’s fans and employees, and even family members of the victims with the intent to protect a musical figure that generated so much revenue for so many people. In addition to covering the timeline of the abuse and the investigation, DeRogatis offers thoughtful analysis about how systemic issues within law enforcement and the entertainment industry, as well as social and racial factors, failed so many young black girls and women who sought justice for the crimes committed against them by a man they loved and trusted and whose music provided the soundtrack for their lives and lined the pockets of others. Relatively unknown and unappreciated since starting his investigation in 2000, DeRogatis’ work has since been validated within the last year due to additional reporting from other media outlets and a successful Lifetime TV documentary series, all of which expound upon DeRogatis’ work. However, all this seems too little, too late for DeRogatis who delves into the problematic reality that, while Kelly was on trial in 2008 for his sex abuse crimes, the singer was experiencing his most critically and commercially acclaimed period of his career with his albums selling better than ever and critics praising Kelly’s genius while dismissing the sex abuse allegations as being trivial distractions. This book by DeRogatis not only makes the case that Kelly is the most notorious sexual abuser in music history, but it also sheds light on how poorly black women are treated in society by exposing the patriarchal and racist political, business, and social systems that silences their voices, erases their identities, and robs them of their humanity.
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  • John Spiller
    January 1, 1970
    If I rated this book on the tenacity of Jim DeRogatis' efforts to uncover and reveal R. Kelly's serial victimization of powerless girls, then this book would be 5-stars. But to put it in terms DeRogatis would understand, that would be like saying "We Are The World" is a great song because it was so well-intentioned. I applaud DeRogatis for stepping outside his comfort zone -- he was a music critic not an investigative journalist -- to pursue a story -- an ongoing series of criminal acts, really If I rated this book on the tenacity of Jim DeRogatis' efforts to uncover and reveal R. Kelly's serial victimization of powerless girls, then this book would be 5-stars. But to put it in terms DeRogatis would understand, that would be like saying "We Are The World" is a great song because it was so well-intentioned. I applaud DeRogatis for stepping outside his comfort zone -- he was a music critic not an investigative journalist -- to pursue a story -- an ongoing series of criminal acts, really -- that had a number of headwinds and obstacles. I also agree with DeRogatis' conclusion that R. Kelly largely avoided negative repercussions to his music career despite 20 years of predatory behavior because his victims were young black girls, perhaps the most powerless class of people in the United States. The way that DeRogatis framed the story and some of the jarring tonal shifts did not work for me. It seemed to me that he had enough material to provide a more comprehensive picture of life in the R. Kelly world rather than providing a series of repetitive vignettes on how girls met Kelly, were groomed, abused, and then fell out with him. Rather than give this important kind of detail, DeRogatis provides a series of asides on people, places or events that felt like filler. (Hey, I like Lester Bangs and read DeRo's bio on him, but it really didn't belong in this book. )
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  • SuZanne
    January 1, 1970
    This nonfiction book, many years in the making, is shocking not just in its well-researched and well-documented revelations of decades of sex crimes by famous R&B and hip-hop star R. Kelly, but also in its revelations of the disturbing simultaneous changes in the journalism industry. For me, once a photojournalist and newspaper editor in Southern California, it was disheartening to read this book. How many decades it took to bring R. Kelly to trial while so many young women suffered from his This nonfiction book, many years in the making, is shocking not just in its well-researched and well-documented revelations of decades of sex crimes by famous R&B and hip-hop star R. Kelly, but also in its revelations of the disturbing simultaneous changes in the journalism industry. For me, once a photojournalist and newspaper editor in Southern California, it was disheartening to read this book. How many decades it took to bring R. Kelly to trial while so many young women suffered from his abuse is appalling. How degraded the state of journalism has become is depressing. DeRogatis walks us through decades of his personal interviews of victims and their families and his professional life as a music critic, journalist, journalism teacher and author who never gave up on "chasing" this sordid tale and exposing the truth. Meanwhile, he shows us the dismantling of investigative journalism and the financial demise of the newspaper industry as a whole. Sad, but true. I "read" this book on amazon audible and if you choose to do so as well, there is an interesting bonus interview of DeRogatis as an afterword. It's certainly not a "fun" read; in fact, is downright disgusting, and I had to put the book aside several times; nevertheless, "the truth will out." It's just so blasted sad that it took so blasted long.
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  • Kassy Harris
    January 1, 1970
    This was a hard read. Well-written and interesting, the topic was what made Soulless so difficult to get through. DeRogatis is the original reporter who helped break the R. Kelly story and it really shows in this book. DeRegotis has been there since the beginning and it's obvious how much he cares about the case. The R. Kelly story is brutal, disheartening, and unfortunately, not a surprise. However, what was surprising to me was the extent of all the evidence and witnesses to R. Kelly's actio This was a hard read. Well-written and interesting, the topic was what made Soulless so difficult to get through. DeRogatis is the original reporter who helped break the R. Kelly story and it really shows in this book. DeRegotis has been there since the beginning and it's obvious how much he cares about the case. The R. Kelly story is brutal, disheartening, and unfortunately, not a surprise. However, what was surprising to me was the extent of all the evidence and witnesses to R. Kelly's actions that still went unnoticed or unacknowledged. If you're interested in the story of R. Kelly, how the scandal came about, and what's going on currently, check this out. It's very informative and although it's obvious that DeRogatis knows Kelly is guilty, he tries to be as objective as possible when showing his arguments and evidence. The only reason I gave this 4 instead of 5 stars was because I found DeRogatis jumped around in his timeline a lot. The majority of the book is presented in a linear fashion, but when DeReogatis focuses on one girl or one situation, he can sometimes jump back and forth in his timeline to bring up relevant points. I just thought this could be a bit confusing sometimes.
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  • Mandy
    January 1, 1970
    By the end I understood why there was so much self-insert by the author, but it was very distracting to read, having no idea who he was prior to this. The book is interesting and had a lot in it, but it was pretty repetitive and I skimmed some LONG descriptions of just people around Kelly's inner circle that really didn't have to be included. I understood why he wanted to tell us that he first watched one of the child pornography videos on his daughter's TV while sitting on her bed, but I honest By the end I understood why there was so much self-insert by the author, but it was very distracting to read, having no idea who he was prior to this. The book is interesting and had a lot in it, but it was pretty repetitive and I skimmed some LONG descriptions of just people around Kelly's inner circle that really didn't have to be included. I understood why he wanted to tell us that he first watched one of the child pornography videos on his daughter's TV while sitting on her bed, but I honestly didn't need that visual. Those kind of details were too much for my taste, and I was pretty eager to just get the whole book finished with. I only watched the first 3 parts of the docuseries by Lifetime so I got some new info for this, but I'm not sure how different they are. I just saw he was arrested again a few days ago on more charges. Awful, horrifying stuff and it's been going on for 25+ years.
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  • Chris
    January 1, 1970
    Holy shit. So many young women (and girls, just teenage girls) were victimized by this superstar and no one would listen; no one cared. But journalist Jim DeRogatis listened to them. He heard their stories, he verified their accounts as thoroughly as he could, and he reported what happened. And he continued reporting even when the world turned a blind eye on the abuse and laughed at the "pee tape." (He points out that it is, in fact, the "rape tape.") Finally it seems R. Kelly is facing the musi Holy shit. So many young women (and girls, just teenage girls) were victimized by this superstar and no one would listen; no one cared. But journalist Jim DeRogatis listened to them. He heard their stories, he verified their accounts as thoroughly as he could, and he reported what happened. And he continued reporting even when the world turned a blind eye on the abuse and laughed at the "pee tape." (He points out that it is, in fact, the "rape tape.") Finally it seems R. Kelly is facing the music, so to speak. This book is a sad, enraging and heroic journey about journalism giving a voice to the voiceless and about survivors summoning the courage to hold a predator to account.
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  • Savanna
    January 1, 1970
    This was a pretty rough book. The saving grace of it all is that I think DeRogatis is an excellent reporter, and the story was clearly meant to inform and enrage, not titilate or scandalize. Also, the audiobook is good for this one because DeRogatis reads it himself, and it's a bit fun to hear the subtext of "no one paid attention to me as I busted my ass reporting this for years, but we got justice in the end" that permeates his voice. If you liked the Spotlight movie or couldn't put down DeRo This was a pretty rough book. The saving grace of it all is that I think DeRogatis is an excellent reporter, and the story was clearly meant to inform and enrage, not titilate or scandalize. Also, the audiobook is good for this one because DeRogatis reads it himself, and it's a bit fun to hear the subtext of "no one paid attention to me as I busted my ass reporting this for years, but we got justice in the end" that permeates his voice. If you liked the Spotlight movie or couldn't put down DeRogatis's Buzzfeed article on Kelly's "cult", get the audiobook now.
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  • Madison Lialle
    January 1, 1970
    Truly the hardest book I have ever read. It was heartbreaking and emotional, and I was beyond frustrated with the world at numerous points in the book. Definitely not a book to read if you want to have a fun time, but it is a necessary read to understand the horrors of how long this man has continued to harm young black girls and women across several decades. DeRogatis aims to uplift the voices of Kelly's victims and their families, and I believe for the most part he succeeds in doing this. He h Truly the hardest book I have ever read. It was heartbreaking and emotional, and I was beyond frustrated with the world at numerous points in the book. Definitely not a book to read if you want to have a fun time, but it is a necessary read to understand the horrors of how long this man has continued to harm young black girls and women across several decades. DeRogatis aims to uplift the voices of Kelly's victims and their families, and I believe for the most part he succeeds in doing this. He has tirelessly followed and reported on this story for years, and is probably the best authority (other than those directly involved and impacted by Kelly) to write this book.I highly recommend!
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  • Sus Faherty
    January 1, 1970
    feels very weird to put a star rating on a book like this. It was incredibly well written -- I was worried that after almost 20 years of reporting, DeRogatis would get bogged down in the details, but it kept a good pace throughout most of the book. The beginning, although important, was a little slow (it was about Kelly's childhood and DeRogatis's background), but once it picked up I couldn't put it down. I've been fascinated by R Kelly's crimes since I first read the Buzzfeed article (I wasn't feels very weird to put a star rating on a book like this. It was incredibly well written -- I was worried that after almost 20 years of reporting, DeRogatis would get bogged down in the details, but it kept a good pace throughout most of the book. The beginning, although important, was a little slow (it was about Kelly's childhood and DeRogatis's background), but once it picked up I couldn't put it down. I've been fascinated by R Kelly's crimes since I first read the Buzzfeed article (I wasn't old enough to pay attention when the trial was happening), and this felt like an exhaustive collection of everything that has happened.
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  • Courtney
    January 1, 1970
    This is a really important book that closely examines how R. Kelly's celebrity and wealth has protected him from legal action and public scrutiny for decades. It also speaks to domestic abuse and the modus operandi of a pedophile. DeRogatis gives a chilling account of the damage R. Kelly has done to his own community as well as communities all over the country. He does get repetitive at times but for the most part, this is a very well written book. DeRogatis deserves a lot of praise for not only This is a really important book that closely examines how R. Kelly's celebrity and wealth has protected him from legal action and public scrutiny for decades. It also speaks to domestic abuse and the modus operandi of a pedophile. DeRogatis gives a chilling account of the damage R. Kelly has done to his own community as well as communities all over the country. He does get repetitive at times but for the most part, this is a very well written book. DeRogatis deserves a lot of praise for not only closely following this story over 19 years but also for listening (in the most respectful way possible) to dozens of R. Kelly's victims.
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  • Gaelen
    January 1, 1970
    I’m glad this book was written, to serve as the definitive record of the many lives destroyed by R. Kelly. But if you’ve read all of Jim DeRogatis’ other reporting on the topic, and watched the “Surviving R. Kelly” documentary, this book doesn’t add much. It’s padded out with a lot of factual information that isn’t particularly interesting, like the backstory of every single character and the stories of getting the prior pieces of journalism published, but the meat of the book is information you I’m glad this book was written, to serve as the definitive record of the many lives destroyed by R. Kelly. But if you’ve read all of Jim DeRogatis’ other reporting on the topic, and watched the “Surviving R. Kelly” documentary, this book doesn’t add much. It’s padded out with a lot of factual information that isn’t particularly interesting, like the backstory of every single character and the stories of getting the prior pieces of journalism published, but the meat of the book is information you’ve probably already read or seen elsewhere.
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  • Christian Holub
    January 1, 1970
    A really important book built on years of reporting and interviews with many of the women allegedly hurt by R&B superstar R. Kelly over the years. "Do we hold art accountable for the artist's behavior?" is a debate that has and will continue forever, but the lease you can do is familiarize yourself with the available information. Here's my EW interview with DeRogatis about the book: https://ew.com/books/2019/06/07/soull...
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  • Clouds
    January 1, 1970
    Really got off the subject a lot... Why did you feel the need to slam President Trump? How was he involved?As to R Kelly, Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Some of the parents are guilty of negligence.Somehow this book grated on my nerves. Lets get rich of off other peoples misery. Hope the young ladies who went through this get justice.... but lets take it to court first.
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  • Sharry Bates
    January 1, 1970
    I do not usually write review but I wanted to write one for this book. This book tells a powerful and unbelievable tale of the survivors of R. Kelly. I truly believe that if there is smoke there is usually some kind of fire. How can so many woman come forward and tell their stories and be branded liars? It is not only R. Kelly who should be on trial but all the others who helped and protected him while he was doing these things.
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  • Julia
    January 1, 1970
    One always feels terrible rating a book documenting the violence against women (and I suspect men as well) by possibly the most monstrous predators of the modern music world. I rate DeRogatis' book a 5/5 for the bravery of the women who spoke up and for DeRogatis giving them a platform to tell their story. May their words be heard, taken seriously, and acted upon.
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  • Jennifer McMaster
    January 1, 1970
    Two stars not because it wasn't well written or documented, but because it was such a dark story and I found it hard to finish the book. There are so many more stories like this that have yet to be uncovered. I applaud the author for exposing this particular case.
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