R. Kelly fans just need to chill out

As you may or may not know, The Hurricane ran a column on my opinion of R. Kelly a few weeks ago. The backlash from this included all sorts of hate mail from random people who are not affiliated with UM in any way. The hate mail described everything from my ignorance to my inability to write to my “obsession” with R. Kelly. My obsession?! That’s the insult that caused the sound of screeching tires in my brain and also a conundrum: why are people so fanatical about their favorite celebrities?

Allow me to start off by saying that I, to some extent, am not to be excluded from this characterization. I watch five times more VH1 than anyone I know and pride myself on the accomplishment of once having watched “Best Week Ever” three times in less than a 14-hour period. How? I’m supremely talented and am driven by my almost compulsive need to be in-the-know with all things pop-cultural. However, this just goes to say that I enjoy mindless entertainment, not that I am obsessed with any individual in particular.

When my editor told me the article would be published the following week, I didn’t bother checking it out. I realized the article had been published earlier than anticipated when slowly, but surely, my Gmail inbox began piling up with letters from adoring/psychotic R. Kelly fans. These people felt the need to inform me of the greatness that is R. Kelly’s career and of what a huge pioneer he is, blah, blah, blah.

This abnormal behavior isn’t exclusive to R. Kelly fans. While driving to work following the Britney Spears head-shaving scandal, Power 96 had a Britney fanatic on their morning show fielding phone calls from listeners and vehemently defending the fallen idol as if she were her own flesh and blood. The fan even agreed to shave her hair off if the DJs agreed not to talk smack about Britney anymore. Britney Spears doesn’t give a rat’s ass about her kids, let alone this girl, but she’ll shave her head in support anyway? That’s crazy!

So, because you are indubitably reading this, let’s get this right, R. Kelly fans: I don’t care what you think! If I wanted your opinion, I would read your opinion columns. I can’t for the life of me fathom what would motivate a person to so passionately defend a freaking celebrity. How is it that my article even came across your computer screen? Do you have software that e-mails you any website containing the phrase “R. Kelly,” or is it manual labor that led you there?

In closing, I don’t believe it’s normal to have a celebrity obsession, but it is normal to watch excessive amounts of VH1. In my opinion, people who are celebrity fanatics should do two things: first, chill out with that, and second, redirect the energy spent tracking the every move of their obsession, or anything related to said obsession, and spend it on saving starving children in Africa, like Oprah and Angelina Jolie.

You may log onto Alicia’s blog at http://madjackeddiary.blogspot.com.

Alicia is a first year graduate student concentrating in sports medicine. Arguments may be forwarded to a.montalvo@umiami.edu and/or posted on The Hurricane’s messageboard at www.themiamihurricane.com.