“Surviving R.Kelly”-Where is The Black Community?

By now many of us have gotten a chance to watch the Lifetime Documentary “Surviving R.Kelly”. If not, you probably heard about the documentary. If not, you at least already knew about sir Robert Kelly and his various instances of pedophilia, which the Black community has been ignoring for decades.

Before we go any further let me state, if it is not clear. This post is completely an opinion post, my opinions; my opinions on R.Kelly, my opinions on the Black Community accepting his bullshit behavior (**I know that it was not the ENTIRE community that accepted his behavior**), and what ever other opinions I would like to share. I am not a fact checker, I am not a journalist, I am not a professional blogger/writer (yet). I am just a Black Women, who is tired of the lack accountability in the Black Community, when things like this happen and continue to happen; especially when it comes to our young Black Girls; who are for the most part always left unprotected.

I don’t even know where to start, because there is so much to say about the subject. It goes beyond R.Kelly, because we have to take a look at our community, our Black Community. I am not saying that these issues are prevalent in the Black community only, however all I know is the Black community. I am the Black community. So I have to address the Black Community.

I do not want to offend ANY Survivor of any form of sexual assault. I am not commenting on your experience, my opinions are completely reserved for the fact that we ignore your experiences.

R. Kelly has been around since the late 80’s. He released his debut album Born in the 90’s with his backup group, Public Announcement. Born in the 90’s was our first introduction to Kelly and his raunchy lyrics, He further shocked the R&B community with his solo album 12 play, which featured sexually provoking songs like “Bump N’ Grind” and “Prince of Pillowtalk”…you sexual deviant you….gross..annywhoo

I never viewed R. Kelly in an “Adult lens”. I only knew him as a child, viewing him in a child lens. He was not my heartthrob. Kelly was a man on tv, that made songs I liked, my friends liked, and the adults around me loved. I grew up listening to R. Kelly. Space Jam was one of my favorite movies. We sung “I believe I can Fly” at my Kindergarten graduation. I remember getting excited when the video for his song “World Greatest” came on. I also remember when Hot 97.7 Radio Personality Miss Jones initially broke the story about R.Kelly and this alleged sex tape, which we later came to find was all true…all true. I also remember thinking it was one big joke, laughing along to all the “pee jokes” and like many members of the Black Community, I too was excited for the release of “Ignition” even after the allegations were made, and I’m pretty sure a trial was set..smh yea.

That was one of the things that really hit me hard while I was watching the “Surviving R. Kelly”. We made a joke of it. We laughed. Laughed at the expense of another Black Women, who at the time was just a Black Child. I remember grown men, grown men, watching and discussing this video. Women, grown women, saying “well she was probably a fast-ass, or she knew what she was doing”….What?! That alone was too much to process. Women, women who probably had to avoid a certain uncle, or cousin during family gatherings. Women who should have known what it felt like, when a grown man tries to “cat call” you as you walk down the block, in your school uniform. These women should have boycotted him, caused an uproar; instead, they stood outside the court house, they continued to buy and listen to his music.

Thinking about where I’m at now, and the women who were probably my age during the time of the infamous tape, I just can’ t believe it. Anytime a celebrity is accused of any ill act…any, and it has been proven as true; I’m over them. You are not God. You bleed red like me. I am no ones biggest fan, not to that extent. Not to the point, where I could ignore such allegations, and support you. I would be done, and any friend that supports them, or that kind of behavior; would no longer be a friend of mines.

Then I had to take a second and ask myself…”Why were we so quick to dismiss it, or better, why was it taken so lightly”. The only answer I could come up with is, too many of us have a R.Kelly in own family.

Which brought about the issue of, “how many girls were Surviving their own families?”

We are all too familiar with the shared stories of being told to not wear certain clothing around certain family members, or to act a certain way when around a group of men, or w.e other forms of cautions little girls are told/given to protect themselves. BUT….big BUT; who the fuck is talking to these men, and telling them “stop it you gross fuck.” Why do we warn our daughters, but we don’t punish and crucify the men who are committing these disgusting acts.

R. Kelly’s career did not suffer when these “allegations” were made, nor did it suffer during the trial. It didn’t suffer when we found out that he was having sexual relations with 15 year-old Aaliyah…..(that broke my heart too). And, it still did not suffer when we found out he was infecting young girls with a std. Up until recently, we were still rocking and dancing to “Step in the name of Love” at every Black family function, even after finding out he had young girl held up in his home; while their families were begging for their returns. What did we do, laughed again; as we “stepped to the left”.

My biggest thing while watching the documentary was the Adults of that era. They had the power to stop and halt this man’s career; as retribution for his heinous acts. Instead, they ignored it. Poked fun at it. Blamed the Survivors. The only people who suffered in all of this were the Survivors who were ignored, and blamed for their experiences.

And why do we continue to do it. It hasn’t stopped, and that goes beyond just the Black Community.

I don’t care how “fast” a child is, they are still a child.

I hope the documentary sends R.Kelly exactly what he deserves, been deserved. I hope the documentary puts fear in any other man, who is in the industry; who leads the same kind of lifestyle as Kelly. I hope this was a wake up call to the Black Community (Society as a whole), we can not continue to ignore the perpetrators of sexual assault, while blaming the Survivors.

The documentary didn’t put me in a good space. And, I’m still processing those feelings, although its been about a week now. I guess it’s because I know it’s so much more bigger than R.Kelly. He is just one.

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