When interpreted and accepted at face value, R Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet" is a portrayal of a woman that is having extramarital affairs with a man, who hides from the woman's husband. This chain of events can be broken down symbolically to obtain a more complete and a more meaningful theme. R Kelly is emphasizing the stress that modern society places on individuals to fit a set of given standards as well as depict the struggles, both internal and external, that these same individuals have making their decisions and overcoming the adversities they encounter. Additionally, R Kelly is a sort of breakaway performer in that he does not adhere to the traditional "values" of rap music. He does not emphasize violence or inner city life, but, rather, tells the struggle of an African American man that encounters the very same issues that many people of any race do. In this way, R Kelly is able to shrink the racial gap that exists among people of different races, and he seeks to remove this emphasis. Additionally, R Kelly does not use the same amount of slang and abbreviation that is used in traditional gangster rap. This suggests that he is trying to appeal to an audience of more than just inner city black men and teens. R Kelly is one of several rap/hip hop artists that are able to successfully break the racial barrier that has existed within their music. R Kelly also made his series of "trapped in the closet" videos follow a predetermined storyline, which is unlike almost any other music video in existence. Rather, "Trapped in the closet" could more accurately be described as a musical in series format than a series of music videos. R Kelly actually included chapters of this musical on his release albums, which is a first step in including a more racially varied audience in his crosshairs.
Trapped in the Closet
TrackBack URL: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/200265