Monday 25 March 2019. Dubai’s government has denied that R Kelly has any concerts booked in at a venue in the emirate or that the musician is set to meet any members of the sheikhdom’s royal family.
Legal reps for Kelly last week asked the US courts for permission for their client to travel to Dubai to play five shows there. The musician was forced to rescind his American passport, of course, when he was bailed on sexual assault and abuse charges last month.
Lawyers said that Kelly was struggling to earn a living in the US at the moment, because of the controversy surrounding the flurry of abuse claims levelled against him, and so he was keen to make good on a commitment to play the shows in the United Arab Emirates.
Few details about said shows were given in last week’s legal filing, but attorneys said that they had been arranged prior to his arrest. It was the same legal papers that also said there were plans for Kelly to meet royalty while in Dubai.
However, according to the Associated Press, the Dubai government’s media office issued a statement over the weekend that said: “Authorities in Dubai have not received any request for a performance by singer R Kelly nor are there any venues that have been booked”. It then added that the controversial musician “has not been invited by the Dubai royal family for a performance”.
Asked about the statement by the AP, Kelly’s lawyer Steven Greenberg insisted his client had signed a contract with a promoter for the Dubai shows, and that all the information provided in last week’s court filing came from that contract.
The attorney said: “Mr Kelly had a signed contract with a legitimate promoter and any information that was included in the motion to travel was from that contract. We did not say he was invited by the royal family, but the contract did provide that he would make himself available to meet with them”.
It remains to be seen who the “legitimate promoter” is, what’s the current status of the five planned shows, and why the Dubai authorities are not aware of them.