The Black Community and R. Kelly

I’m disgusted by the Black community’s reaction to the “Surviving R. Kelly,” documentary. Instead of considering how serious this issue is, people have resorted to jokes. Instead of supporting Black women, Black people went to stream R. Kelly’s music. Instead of speaking out against sexual assault, Black people jumped to R. Kelly’s defense. I’m disappointed in my people. Actually, I’m angry as a Black Woman and as a victim of sexual assault.

I saw several jokes about the underage girls who had relationships with older men. Of course, it was at the expense of the underage girls. Victim blaming. People were making light out of witnessing GROWN MEN in relationships with underage girls. Would it be funny if your daughter or your little sister was being preyed on by a grown man? Those girls were being manipulated. A child does not have the same mental capacity as an adult. Why aren’t you using this moment to call out those adults who took advantage of those young girls?

Black people were even reposting memes about R. Kelly being a pedophile. I’m glad to see that Black girls being abused is a nice punchline for jokes, from Black people at that. The girls who we’re supposed to protect are the butt of your jokes. Hilarious.

Don’t even get me started on the Black people who went hard for R. Kelly. I even saw my own family members do it. Black people called these little girls, “hoes.” They called them, “fast.” They called them every name in the book except what they were, which was: Victims. This man groomed those young girls. He manipulated them. That’s what abusers do. If an adult can be manipulated, a child sure as hell can. Think about how naive most children are. Think about the insecurities that tweens and teens go through. A child’s mind is no match for an adult. This is why it is illegal for an adult to have relations with a child.

Now to the “Pro Blacks” that are using race to derail this conversation about R. Kelly: He is not under attack because he is a Black man. He is under attack because he is an abuser. White people do not give a damn about what this man did. He didn’t abuse white girls. He abused Black girls. He has never served time for his crimes, even though he has twenty years of allegations against him with evidence. White people have never tried to take him down. In fact, Black Women has to create their own movement against him because no one fucking cared like they should have. R. Kelly’s career has been successful despite the numerous allegations against him. Your racial defense won’t save him from being called out. If you consider yourself, “Pro Black,” while you are going hard for this man: You are a hypocrite. You are defending someone who has and is still hurting Black women. The women you claim to love and want to protect.

These reactions to the R. Kelly documentary are a reflection of the attitudes towards sexual assault in our community. There are families who will allow their child’s abuser to sit at the dinner table with them. There are mothers who will resent their own daughters before they leave their boyfriends who have been molesting them. There is someone sitting back knowing their friend is messing with teenage girls. This has been going on for years in our community. And if we expect to thrive, then something has to change.

(Be careful how you joke about sexual assault and defend rapists. The people around you could be victims of abuse and you’d never know. But they now know what type of person you are. And you better hope it doesn’t hit close to home, while you’re making light out of something as serious as sexual assault. You will never understand that trauma until you experience it.)

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