I’ll start by saying this isn’t solely about R. Kelly. However, he did spark the idea that made me want to start a conversation. I watched the lifetime documentary. I sat up one night and binge watched the six part docuseries which left me feeling an array of emotions. Shame, shock, disbelief, and disgust were all bottled inside of me just waiting for a listening ear that I could pour them on to, in hopes that we could then bond over our shared disgust. I thought that this would be a no brainer. You can’t be in your 30s and 40s still chasing after 14 year old girls right? Wrong!
On Facebook all I saw were tons of young men and women staking there unwavering support of the musical genius. Barbershops were riddled with “boys will be boys” talk. Without blinking, women had turned on each other and found fault in the young girls. Blame was being placed on the parents for not being more protective of their children. The blame was on the women for being “fast” and easily manipulated. The blame was on the wife for staying for so long and not speaking up on the horrors she herself endured. The blame was everywhere except the one place it truly belonged, on R Kelly himself.
I dug deeper, talking to a few of my peers and close family members trying to figure out how they didn’t see it. How was this not black and white? I didn’t see a grey area when I watched that docuseries. I saw a grownup who had spent his entire life preying on underaged girls. How had R. Kelly managed to secure his place in the hearts of millions? Had he paid off the world? No, it wasn’t that, simply put; he’s Black!
R. Kelly’s skin color has somehow turned into a shield of armor that protects him in the African American community regardless of the nature of his crimes. Our people have been so battered and bruised throughout history that we’ll be damned if we help you bring one of the lucky ones down. We stand by our chosen ones through thick and thin because in all honesty, we never know when we’ll get another hero. And while I feel my people on this, I must say it’s extremely detrimental.
It’s this same way of thinking that turned Donald freaking Trump into our president. White people voted for this man just because he was white. They didn’t care that he had absolutely no idea what he was doing. They rallied together and said “hey, let’s vote for the racist white guy because he talks just like us!”
We have to be careful with this kind of blind faith. While I love the love that’s behind a statement like, “I’m rooting for everybody Black”, I think it’s important to really think about it. Are you really rooting everybody Black? Is that the only way you know how to rate goodness in a person?
I love my Black people, but when I think of who I want representing me, skin color may be the first thing I think of, but it’s definitely not the last.