R&B legend Syleena Johnson spoke to HL about her working relationship with R. Kelly & how she feels about her song ‘I Am Your Woman.’
Back in the day, R.Kelly was referred to as the King of Chicago and Syleena Johnson was the Queen. The now disgraced performer wrote and produced the lead single from Syleena’s debut album titled “I Am Your Woman,” which went on to become one of her greatest hits. Today, after the multiple allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct that have come out against R.Kelly, Syleena revealed that she “doesn’t like to perform that song.” “At first I felt like, man, some of the lyrics in the song. were just disgusting… so I wouldn’t perform it. I didn’t like the thing. I didn’t like to sing it because I didn’t want to offend anyone,” the star of the new Aspire TV docuseries The Making of a Woman told HollywoodLife.com in an EXCLUSIVE interview.
She continued, “But then, so many people requested that I play it. So many people have joy from it. People are still playing it. It is like resurfacing all over again.” Syleena explained that shortly after news broke about R.Kelly, she went to Africa to perform at an event and they asked her to play “I Am Your Woman,” and she found herself at a crossroads. “When the song came out, it was a big lesson and used as a campaign in to stop men from abusing and infecting women with HIV in Africa. Do you do you take that away from them? Do you say, ‘Well, this song means this to me, so I’m not going to play it?’” Syleena recalled. “The music is never about me. It’s never about us. It’s about the people. So if they’re okay with it, and they want it, I will sing it.”
She added, “It’s tough. It’s a fine line. You don’t want to offend anybody, but you also don’t want to take things away from people that they have grown to love.” Syleena’s new show on AspireTV, The Making of a Woman, chronicles her journey to make her 11th studio album while also enduring the trials and tribulations of being a woman in the industry and in America. “We cover all the bases. Inequality concerns, pay gap…We cover body image it covers cancer,”she explained. “It also really touches on bigger issues, like that women don’t give themselves time to stop. It gives a real perspective of what we deal with as women, having babies, having a family, having to leave and travel, and how we persevere through what we need.”
The final episode of The Making Of A Woman premieres on AspireTV Saturday, June 19th at 8 PM ET. Then, there will be a marathon of the 3-part series on Saturday, June 26th.