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CULTURAL INNOVATION AND NARRATIVE SYNERGY IN R. KELLY’S TRAPPED IN THE CLOSET

by Ioana Literat

My research analyzes the narrative conventions of R. Kelly’s serial “hip-hopera” Trapped in the Closet, exploring the manner in which the artist’s chosen narrative strategies have shaped both the production and the reception of the series. Specifically, I discuss how Trapped in the Closet re-appropriates the conventions of the soap opera, the music video and the opera, to create a wholly original product that both evokes these schematas and simultaneously challenges their traditional narrative norms. Looking at R. Kelly’s chosen promotional strategy, I argue that the convergence of genres and narrative influences, as evident in the series’ content and style, parallels the convergence of media channels – radio, television, internet – that characterized its release and distribution, highlighting the increasing importance of a transmedial approach in the conceptualization and dissemination of cultural texts. 

R. Kelly's Trapped in the Closet [Excerpt: Chapter 9]

Described by its creator as a "serial hip-hopera", Trapped in the Closet is the magnum opus of the controversial R&B artist R. Kelly.

from Trapped in the Closet (2005)
Creator: R. Kelly
Posted by Ioana Literat
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