A trip by R. Kelly is in limbo after his attorney asked for more time to provide details about concerts the singer wants to perform in Dubai.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Dubai’s government on Sunday forcefully denied a claim by R&B singer R. Kelly that the artist had planned concerts in the sheikhdom after he sought permission from an Illinois judge to travel here, despite facing sexual-abuse charges.
In a rare statement, the government’s Dubai Media Office also denied claims by his lawyer in court that Kelly had plans to meet the sheikhdom’s ruling Al Maktoum family.
“Authorities in Dubai have not received any request for a performance by singer R. Kelly, nor are there any venues that have been booked,” the statement reads, adding that Kelly “has not been invited by the Dubai royal family for a performance.”
In an email to The Associated Press, Kelly’s lawyer Steven A. Greenberg responded saying: “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.”
Kelly was charged on Feb. 22 with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse for allegedly assaulting three girls and one adult woman, coming after the release of the Lifetime documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly.” He has denied ever abusing anyone.
In a court filing last week, Greenberg had said the singer needed to raise money as “he has struggled of late to pay his child support and other child related expenses.”
“Before he was arrested Mr. Kelly had signed a contract to perform between 3-5 shows in Dubai, UAE, in April 2019,” the court filing read. “He requests permission to travel to Dubai for the shows. While there he is supposed to meet with the royal family.”
The filing did not elaborate on where Kelly was allegedly supposed to perform. There was no publicized event for which Kelly was known to be a performer.
However, Dubai’s luxury nightclubs often host hip-hop and other artists for days at a time to perform and be seen among the millionaires of this skyscraper-studded city that is home to the world’s tallest building. Rich families also pay for celebrities at their parties.
The UAE’s seven emirates are overseen by hereditary rulers who hold absolute power. Dubai’s ruler is Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, 69. His 36-year-old son, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, serves as Dubai’s crown prince and is next in line to be ruler.
Dubai has long drawn celebrities craving both luxury and seclusion. Will Smith is a repeated visitor. Lindsay Lohan lives off and on in the sheikhdom. David Beckham, Shah Rukh Khan and others are believed to own property in Dubai.
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