South Carolina

Possible presidential candidate dances to R. Kelly at SC church — by mistake, aide says

Courtney Gross/Twitter

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was in South Carolina over the weekend as he weighs a possible run for the presidential nomination in the Democratic primary. De Blasio and his wife visited the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston and went to Orangeburg, according to the couple’s Twitter accounts.

But it was at the Victory Tabernacle Deliverance Temple, a church in Orangeburg, that NY1 News reporter Courtney Gross caught the video that many in New York are talking about: the church plays R. Kelly’s “I believe I can fly” as the choir and parishioners dance. De Blasio gives what the New York Daily News described as a “halfhearted” dance as he stands to the side of the pulpit.

“I wonder if the @NYCMayor realizes who sings this song,” Gross tweeted along with the 18-second video. She was traveling with the mayor as he considers running for president next year.

A spokesman for de Blasio said the mayor did not know whose song it was in the church, according to the Daily News. “The Mayor wasn’t the church’s DJ, and he certainly can’t be expected to recognize every R. Kelly track,” the spokesman told the newspaper.

R. Kelly faces new charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in Chicago, The New York Times reports, more than a decade after he was found not guilty on child porn charges. The singer, whose real name is Robert Kelly, was the subject of a recent Lifetime documentary that accused him of sexual abuse going back decades, the Times reports.

The Orangeburg Times and Democrat reports Orangeburg Mayor Michael Butler is the bishop of the church and had invited de Blasio to the service.

De Blasio told the congregation that he and his wife were discussing his potential run for president, according to the Times and Democrat.

“We certainly have not ruled out a run for the presidency and we’re going to be traveling around talking about the kind of message you heard today, and making a decision sooner, rather than later,” he said, according to the newspaper.

Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.