enforcement in Chicago and Atlanta are looking into accusations that
R& B singer Robert Kelly, (better known as R. Kelly) was involved
in engaging in lewd, intense, graphic sexual activity with numerous
underage teenage girls in both cities over a two decade period, Such
investigations are coming on the recently aired Lifetime television
docuseries Surviving R. Kelly.
The several part series is a riveting, heartbreaking saga that
chronicles the experiences of dozens of women a number of whom were
teenage and some cases, pre-pubescent girls at the time such sordid
sex acts took place. It is must see television for all those who are
concerned about the sexual abuse of women and children, in
particular, young Black women and girls.
for the most part, has been nothing short of proactive and
aggressive. Americans across racial, social, economic, gender and
political spectrum as well as citizens all over the world have been
captivated by the cascade of riveting and sordid allegations levied
against the mega music superstar. This is certainly the case with
Black Americans. Certain celebrities who have remained mum on such
nefarious activities for years, in some cases, decades have suddenly
“seen the light” and found the courage to speak out
against R. Kelly. Lady Gaga, Nick Cannon, Chance the Rapper are just
a few who have taken to the airwaves issuing belated mea culpas
expressing regret for collaborating with the accused and alleged
their part, both Mr. Kelly and his team of attorneys have issued
steadfast denials in regards to the charges levied against them.
Indeed, Kelly's attorney, Steve Greenberg has brashly dismissed
Kelly's accusers labeling them as “grudge holding, leeching,
disappointed opportunists” who latched on to his client yet
became disgruntled and resentful when the careers they hoped for
failed to materialize. In essence, Mr. Greenberg has employed the
“hell hath no fury like an ambitious and disappointed scorned
woman” defense. And get this, these shamefully aggressive
wenches were greedy money grubbing heifers too! Ain't that a bitch!
He's done more than blame the victims here. He has pretty much called
them out and labeled them as ho's.
troubling, one can likely understand why Kelly's legal team and
hanger on's are acting like barbarians at the gate, rushing to defend
him. He is their livelihood, meal ticket, financial repository. If
he is weakened or indicted, so are their financial pocketbooks. Thus,
he has to be protected at all costs, no matter how vile, untoward and
unethical it is for them to do so.
but not surprisingly, (at least not for those of us who have our
eyes, ears, minds and emotions perennially glued to Black social and
popular culture) a notable segment of the Black community is
supportive of R. Kelly or is at the very least, ambivalent about the
slew of scurrilous allegations levied against the R& B musician.
These are the men (and more than a few women) who have resorted to
and indulged in the “they are trying to bring another powerful
Black man down” argument.
was the case with other Black men who have been accused and in some
cases, indicted for nefarious behavior, these are the supposedly
racially conscious, “down with the cause” astute Black
folk who view Kelly as being the unfair and tragic victim of
manufactured, trumped up, if not outright false charges whipped up by
powerful subversive elements determined to see another Black man
destroyed. And guess what? They have recruited hundreds of lying
Black women along the way, secretly gave some of them chump change
and provided SERIOUS cash to others under the table! My response to
such derelict, unhinged, conspiratorial thinking is NEGROES PLEASE!
Don't think so!
has been this sort of complicity and willful denial from many
segments of the Black community that has enabled R Kelly and others
of his ilk to escape any sort of punishment for their sinister,
pathological behavior and only to later face a form of watered down,
belated justice or suffer no consequences at all for their actions.
The undisputed truth is that fans of all races, the media and the
music industry was all to willing to adopt a “hear no evil, see
no evil, fear no evil “ philosophy when it came to R. Kelly.
Some still are for that matter.
fact, Chicago Sun Times
reporter, Jim De Rogatis was the first reporter who exposed the
singer's alleged pursuit and abuse of underage girls. Rather than
being taken seriously De Rogatis was largely relegated to a voice in
the wilderness for the better part of two decades. This fact in and
of itself is outrageous and disturbing.
we are being frank about it (and I sure as hell am), sad to say, the
words of Black women are often given short shrift in our society.
Simply put, Black women are not given the benefit of the doubt that
their White female counterparts are. They are members of a culture
and society that views them as juvenile, wanton, suspect, devious,
rapacious and so on. Media depictions of Black women loudmouthed,
combative, untrustworthy, sassy, hip holding, eye rolling, trash
talking sapphires have dominated the television landscape for
decades. Does images of Omarosa, Ne Ne Leakes, Housewives
of Atlanta etc… come to mind?
me make it clear! To be sure, as a middle aged Black man who has
lived in America and is a historian by training, I am well aware of
the fact that Black men and Black people in general have been the
victims of rampant injustices. Given our past and present history,
one can understand why more than a few Black Americans proceed with
caution when hearing about the supposed transgressions of one of our
own from outside sources, particularly when the person in question is
a beloved, powerful and mega successful individual like R. Kelly.
With so many suffering from drug abuse, skyrocketing rates of mental
illness, in prison, unemployed or underemployed , success stories
like Kelly's provided a glimmer of hope onto a racial landscape that
is often far too bleak when it comes to Black men.
and pride aside, the fact is that we should not and cannot support
the sexual violation of women of any race! PERIOD! If such
accusations are, in fact, true, then a major injustice has been
perpetrated on these young women even if some of them are now full
grown adults. What's worse is that some of them were likely the
victims of pedophilia! Unthinkable! These women deserve justice!
silence among too many in the Black community is deafening. It is as
if these young ladies are not even worth of any level of human
dignity. Malcolm X said it best in a 1962 speech “The most
disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most
unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected
person in America is the black woman.”
have seen this play out time and time again from the days of slavery,
century during the days of Jim Crow and the civil rights movement.
Such intra-racial divisive drama manifested itself during the Anita
Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings. We are witnessing such brazen
animosity here in the present day where Black female journalists are
routinely disregarded and disrespected by President Trump. More than
a half a century later, Malcolm X's words ring spot on!
undisputed truth is that Black women have been the backbone of the
Black race. They have done so with undeniable credibility. They have
kept our people above water. Historically, Black women have come to
the aid of Black men, White women (ask Hilary Clinton in 2016 and
Doug Jones in Alabama) and pretty much everyone else, yet the same
level of support and loyalty from others is rarely, if ever
reciprocated. Their tenacity formidable and fierce strength has been
nothing short of herculean. Such continued disloyalty and betrayal
must change. There is no other way to say it, Black women deserve