If you are a survivor who tuned into the Lifetime documentary, Surviving R. Kelly, peace be with you. I hope you took breaks, but more importantly engaged in the self-care of your choosing before, during, or after. Or just turned the TV off, if necessary.
If you’re a Black man who watched the documentary in anticipation of scoffing at or mocking R. Kelly’s victims—and this objective highlighted quite a few of these girls and women, though there are likely literal hundreds—this one’s for you.
I am thoroughly disgusted by the team of yes-men that assisted R. Kelly in committing his crimes. They were just as culpable in their complicity. Former tour manager and personal assistant, Demetrius Smith’s, retellings were particularly disturbing. While recounting them with accuracy and aplomb, he seemed amused by his own words, chuckling when remembering forging documents so that Aaliyah and Robert could marry, or when he told of flying girls in and out to satisfy R. Kelly’s perverted whims.
One handler recalled thinking these “bitches are stupid”.
Though this chronicling was abhorrent, it wasn’t surprising. I regularly come across unreasonable Black males engaging in brazen attempts to discredit and belittle the pied piper’s victims. An extension of victim-blaming. They often, and with senseless rhetoric, irrationally argue with Black women who believe and support R. Kelly’s victims’ accounts. This nonsense was at an all-time high with the debut of this documentary.
I frequently observe remarks offering the serial human-trafficking cult leader a “pass”, not only in support of his music, but in support of whiteness and the freedoms propagated by it. “If he was white, he’d get a slap on the wrist. . . no one would care. . .you wouldn’t be bothered. . .you wouldn’t hold him to the same standards. . .”
Wait a minute.
White men shackled our ancestors like chattel being prepared for slaughter, ushered them onto overcrowded ships with no life buoys, and dragged them across the Atlantic into slavery for their own capitalistic gain. That they still reap the benefits from today.
I don’t ever wait with bated breath for white men to do the right thing or do right by me. In any scenario. Under any circumstances. Unless I know them personally. And even then, it’s a crapshoot.
It has been a primary function and occupation of white-identifying males to steal, kill, destroy and appropriate from communities of color for centuries, so I’m flummoxed by the standards some Black men think Black women should hold white men accountable up against.
And for the sake of elevating a sexual deviant that looks like them to protected status.
Talk to me about what white men get away with when they start to give a fuck about Black Lives Matter, specifically your singular Black-ass life mattering. When they hit the streets to protest about someone who looks like you being shot to death while entering their own home.
What these Black men are transmitting when making this sort of flagrant commentary is that they actually don’t give a fuck about Black women. They really just want to possess the power and privilege that white men do in order to get away with the egregious shit that white men have and will continue to. Black men seek this same power to oppress. They’re admitting that they want the justice system to work on their behalf–in favor of Black men, but not for Black women.
And with that, my old adage rings true. Black men are just out here trying to be white men.
That being said, it’s imperative for me to reiterate.
There is no such thing as “fast” girls.
There are not two sides to every story. Particularly stories where a sex-obsessed, sex-trafficking, predatory Black male musician has yet to truly be held accountable, is acquitted and then celebrated for his “triumph” in the courts. Even while having a decades-long trajectory of preying on underage Black girls and women.
R. Kelly makes his predaceous predilections as clear as a VVS1 diamond in his musical offerings. Yet his outlandish supporters are analogous to white juries that view video of white police officers shooting fleeing Black citizens—who are running away—in the back. They know what they saw. They know what they heard. They choose to ignore it because it would challenge their “normal”.
Much like the jury that opts not to upset their upper hand in the white power dynamic by looking the other way when a transgression has been committed, some Black people would rather “step in the name of love” instead of step up to honor and protect Black girls and women.