When I woke up yesterday morning, I intended to sit down and write an essay about Beyoncé‘s battle with feminists who feel she’s not worthy of the term, and the complexity of advocating for women’s rights while being a staunch capitalist. But I was interrupted by an email midway through writing the article, and the email was simply titled: “READ THIS AND YOU’LL NEVER SUPPORT R. KELLY’S ASS AGAIN!!”
My homegirl, who remembered I recently wrote a blog about R. Kelly and the pass he’s received for his disgusting sexual behavior, sent the email to me, and it contained nothing more than a link to an article that confirmed my worst fears about Robert Kelly – and also introduced some new ones.
The piece not only reinforced my belief that R. Kelly has a disgusting predilection for underage girls that goes far beyond his troubling sex tape and his musty marriage to Aaliyah, but also introduced, through readers’ response to the article, the reality that there is no amount of evidence that R. Kelly’s staunchest defenders can ever witness to make them stop excusing what he did. And to make things even worse, his defenders not only feel that victim-blaming and disregarding the pain of little Black girls is completely OK, but they are also mostly Black men and women themselves. Truth be told, no Black man or woman has any business defending R. Kelly.
Let’s be 100 percent clear: While R. Kelly may qualify as a crossover artist, the success of most of his music, tours, and frowsy videos of himself hiding in closets is directly associated with the Black community. We are the largest consumers, promoters, and advocates of the R. Kelly brand, and we are also the only ones who truly care about his charges. If Kobe, Tiger, Jay Z, or Will Smith were accused of doing what R. Kelly has allegedly done, their careers would be OVER and they would be strongly rejected by white media at every turn. But R. Kelly has managed to fly under that shit-storm radar because of two simple facts: As much as everyone knows the lyrics to R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly,” it’s Black people who predominantly support him and no white girls were harmed in the satiation of his alleged pedophilia. His alleged victims were all young, poor, Black girls who could be bought, sold, and intimidated into silence and even abortions.
And this is not an issue that should be parsed along gender or class lines because the problem is Black men and women. Truth be told, R. Kelly’s fan base is mostly BLACK WOMEN and BLACK MEN stand by and allow him to bask in his fuckery. That’s why I assert that the real culprit behind R. Kelly’s defenders is self-hate. The over-sexulaization of Black women, which started from slavery and continues today, backed by the predominantly white media has managed to effectively brainwash Black people into believing that Black girls have no innocence to be stolen. When we hear about a man in his late twenties getting it in with a 12- or 13-year-old girl, we instantly wonder how she seduced him, instead of wondering how he managed to manipulate her.
How much do we hate young Black girls that we think it’s OK to utter bullshit like, “They were just young groupie hoes!” in reference to grown men penetrating an underage child? How much have we been conditioned to disrespect the Black female form that we effortlessly call adolescent rape victims “fast” and “money-hungry”?
Only self-hate is powerful enough for us to blame girls as young as 12 for being raped, because we come from a generation where watching “Maury” has us believing that being young, ratchet, and horny is a side effect of growing up in poor neighborhoods.
Our daughters, wives, sisters, mothers, nieces, aunties, co-workers, classmates, and strangers alike deserve better than the label of sexual deviants. And our sons, husbands, fathers, nephews, uncles, etc. deserve to grow up in a world where they can view the innocence of little Black girls as worthy of fighting to the death for.
So spare me that bullshit-ass “he who is without sin, cast the first stone” nonsense because R. Kelly’s received more passes than a Denver Broncos wide receiver. We need to stop “Stepping in the name of rape,” and believing that great music is a good reason to give a bad man the right to sexually abuse dozens of young girls.
We all got to do a lot better than this.