Meaning of “Do What U Want (With My Body)” by Lady Gaga and R. Kelly

“Do What U Want” is a duet by American singers Lady Gaga and R. Kelly. On this song, both narrators (Gaga and Kelly), find themselves so fed up with the statements of their detractors that they lash out at them. They are fed up with the false things constantly reported about them on various media outlets, that they tell their haters to go ahead and have their bodies and do whatever they want with them. However, they should take note of the fact that they can never succeed in having their minds or hearts.

Owing to some of the lyrics of the song appearing to be centering on themes of romantic submissiveness, it is easy to assume the song’s core meaning is about a person telling their lover to have their body and use it as they please. However, as has been stated above, this isn’t so.

Gaga herself explained the song’s meaning during a 2013 press conference. According to her, numerous untrue stories have been peddled about she and Kelly. The song was therefore their way of telling the people who seek to bring them down they can’t succeed.

“They can have our bodies,” Gaga said, “but they cannot have our mind or our heart”.

In one interview with USA Today, Gaga shed more light on the inspiration behind this song. In that interview, she called Kelly a very close friend of hers. Here is an extract of that interview:

Lady Gaga comments on the song “Do What U Want (With My Body)”
The pronoun “we” Gaga uses in the statement above refers to R. Kelly and her.
Gaga and Kelly performing the duet on November 24, 2013 at the American Music Awards.

Facts about “Do What U Want”

  • Lady Gaga and R. Kelly wrote this song with three others: Tchami, DJ White Shadow and DJ Snake.
  • “Do What U Want” was produced by DJ White Shadow in conjunction with Lady Gaga.
  • This defiant track was formally dropped on October 21, 2013. It was the second single from Gaga’s third studio album called Artpop (ARTPOP).
  • “Do What U Want” was a success on the charts. IT reached number 1 in Greece and Hungary. It also entered the top 10 in multiple countries, including the United Kingdom and France. On the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, this deviant and provocative track made it to number 13.
  • American fashion photographer Terry Richardson directed the music video for “Do What U Want”.
  • Since 2013, several remixes of this song have been released.
  • This duet marked Gaga’s first collaboration with R. Kelly.
  • In January 2014, another studio version of this song came out. That version featured Gaga and Christina Aguilera. This was the first time Gaga and Aguilera collaborated.
  • There is a solo version of this track. That version features only Gaga. FYI – this song was originally written to be performed by Gaga alone.

The Controversy Surrounding Kelly’s version of “Do What U Want”

The song was embroiled in controversy from the very day it was released. Why? Prior to the recording of the song, Kelly had been accused on multiple occasions of preying on girls (including underage ones). Gaga was criticized for working with Kelly even though she was aware of these allegations. For several years, she said nothing about these accusations against her “friend” and collaborator. However, she was forced to comment on the matter in January 2019 after the documentary Surviving R. Kelly was released. This documentary in question details how Kelly abused girls and young women for years and got away with it.

On January 9, 2019, Gaga released a Twitter statement about the issue. She apologized for collaborating with Kelly and expressed her support for all victims of abuse. It’s noteworthy that Gaga herself was once abused as a teenager. In the statement, she promised to never collaborate with Kelly again.

As if that wasn’t enough, she went on to reveal that she had plans to remove “Do What U Want” off iTunes and other streaming services.

Lady Gaga apologizes for collaborating with R. Kelly
Solo version of the song.

Aside this track, are three any other collaborations between Kelly and Gaga?

No. As of 2019, this is the only collaboration between these two. And it’s highly unlikely in future there would any other.

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