R. Kelly’s 2003 single “Soldier’s Heart” was originally dedicated to the actual soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. But when he visited South Africa for the 2010 World Cup festivities, Kelly visited Nelson Mandela’s home, performed the song for him in his living room, and dedicated it to him. Appearing on Arsenio last night, on the day of Mandela’s death, Kelly once again performed a lovely solo-piano rendition of the song. But this was, after all, R. Kelly, and he is not one to remain solemn for long. So he pretty much took over the show. Cearly lip-syncing, he did “Shut Up,” an amazing fuck-the-haters song from his new album Black Panties, and staged the performance as a fake press conference. He sang an amazing rendition of “When A Woman Loves,” the beautiful old-school soul ballad from his 2010 album Love Letter. He gamely fielded Arsenio’s challenge to improvise a few sex songs for specific ladies on the audience. There was an interview in there, too, about how his own album led to all of his three kids’ conceptions. Watch it all below
Black Panties is out 12/20 on RCA. That “When A Woman Loves” ending, oh my god.