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The Week Ahead

R. Kelly's short tour, long haul

August 11, 2003|Randy Lewis

The Illinois judge who approved R&B singer R. Kelly's brief concert tour that starts Friday in Oakland may have removed any legal obstacles to Kelly leaving his home state while under indictment on 21 counts of child pornography, but that doesn't mean the tour will be smooth sailing.

Only about half the tickets have been sold for his concert Saturday at the Forum, which also features red-hot singer Ashanti. And L.A. hip-hop radio station Power 106 (KPWR-FM) has yet to add Kelly's latest single, "Thoia Thoing," to its playlist, even though it is rapidly moving up Radio & Records' urban singles chart.

"We're getting requests a little here and there, but nothing massive where we feel like we have to play this record immediately," says Power 106 music director E Man.

The station's vice president of marketing, Dianna Obermeyer, says the Kobe Bryant assault case has all but pushed R. Kelly's travails off their listeners' radar.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday August 12, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 0 inches; 28 words Type of Material: Correction
R. Kelly photo -- An article in Monday's Calendar about R&B singer R. Kelly was accompanied by a photo of rapper Chingy that incorrectly identified him as Kelly.

Still, Kelly will be met at the Forum not only by loyal fans but also a group that's picketing the concert.

"We're basing our complaint not just on the latest porn charges," says Project Islamic Hope's L.A. chapter founder, Najee Ali, spearheading the protest, "but the fact that he's already had three out-of-court settlements with the families of young girls in Chicago."

Ali also has asked Inglewood Mayor Roosevelt Dorn and officials at Faithful Central Bible Church, which owns the Forum, to pull the plug on the show.

Forum general manager Vernon Griscombe says: "No one has contacted me directly, but I have heard there may be some sort of protest. It's unfortunate, and I understand the gravity of the alleged crime, but our position is that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and that if it's in the judicial system, we will let the judicial system take its course."

Kelly's brief tour moves on from Inglewood to stops in Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and New York. September figures to be a big month for the singer: On Sept. 9, his first greatest hits collection, "The 'R.' in R&B Collection, Vol. 1," will hit stores, then on Sept. 26, he'll return to court on the child pornography charges relating to a video that allegedly shows him having sex with an underage girl.

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