16 January 2019
-SANKOFA weighs in :
TW : Sexual abuse, pedophilia, rape
Early last year, 18 April 2018 to be specific, Fader Magazine released an article which reported that R.Kelly's publicist, lawyer and assistant have all dropped the R&B Singer in light of then-new allegations. The allegations, made in the poignant, insightful and incredibly revealing documentary aired by BBC titled R. Kelly: Sex, Girls, and ignited a milieu of then-new accusations regarding the conditions underneath which R.Kelly was allegedly involuntarily detaining the woman in his life. Conditions, which while shocking, echoed a pattern of abusive and misogynistic behaviour that had previously played out during the singers infamous "Sex tape'* trial in 2008.
"Sex tape" must be flagged as the language utilized by mass media coverage at the time and the way in which the trial was framed in the collective pop culture archives. However, retrospectively there is something incredibly unsettling about deeming child pornography as a mere "sex tape". Sex requires mutual consent which a child is not capable of providing to an adult - specifically a then man. According to the United States Justice Department, " Federal law defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor (persons less than 18 years old). " It is for this reason, despite R.Kelly's trial acquittal, that the trial will be referred to in terms of child pornography as opposed to a "sex tape" for the remainder of this article.
Upon the release of the aforementioned documentary, R. Kelly's executive assistant Diane Copeland, lawyer Linda Mensch and publicist
Trevian Kuttti dropped the singer. The relevance of which is what?
As of this week, Lifetime has released a six-part documentary series titled Surviving R.Kelly detailing interviews with over fifty people including : R.Kelly's ex-wife Andrea Kelly, former backup singer and survivor Jovante Cunningham, singer Sparkle (whose niece is alleged to have been filmed in the child pornography tape used to indite R.Kelly), Jerhonda Pace - R. Kelly survivor, as well as family members of women currently allegedly beneath detention by R.Kelly such as Jocelyn Savage as well as Dominique Gardener. Critical commentary provided by the likes of civil rights activist Tarana Burke, singer John Legend, radio and tv personality Wendy Williams and many more cultural critics. The documentary includes the views of trained psychologists, a criminologist as well as a plethora of journalists who have either interviewed Kelly or followed the allegations (dating back to the 1970's) closely. Moreover, commentary from two of Kelly's brothers Carey and a problematic jailbird who appears in the series named Bruce.
Earlier this week, the above Fader article resurfaced and applause was falsely awarded to said individuals from distancing themselves from Kelly. Praise, which must be discouraged simply on the grounds that people complicit in aiding an abuser are themselves also guilty. However, the net of guilt which surrounds this shrouded affair can be cast far and wide. To members of the public who insist that allegations made against Kelly are simply to tarnish his reputation, to his avid supporters who are responsible for the 16% increase in streaming of the singers records, to fellow industry tycoon Kendrick (Lamar threatened to pull his music from Spotify upon the company suggesting a retraction of Kelly and xxxtentrashabusers music) as well as many other famous black performers.
There is a culture of complicity in black culture towards successful black male artists who partake in problematic behaviours -specifically when these (often violent) behaviours are exacted against black women. The continued endorsement of Kelly since his acquittal over 11 years ago speaks directly to this pattern of complicit denial and suppression of narratives which challenge powerful black men in the music industry. What reads as more shocking to me the allegations levelled against Kelly is the disbelief lodged against the survivors in the documentary. The contniued support of this artist is a direct condemnation not only of sexual, physical and mental abuse survivors reclaiming their narratives but against the plausibility and validity of black feminine pain. Early yesterday morning Jada Pinkett-Smith released the following commentary questioning the absurdity of the increased streaming of Kelly's music, she said :
“ I really don’t want to believe it’s because black girls don’t matter enough... or is that the reason?”
A sentiment which must be investigated further given the longevity of Kelly's abusive, pedophilic patterns and corresponding allegations - culturally, why do black woman have to work so hard to be believed and/or heard? During the interview one of Kelly's former music producer, Craig Williams stated " I don't know if race played a part in this trial or not, but if it were white children who were being molested by a black man in this case... I'm sure Rob would've gone to jail. Very swiftly." A comment which while unsettling, intuitively felt true. What is it about our blackness as women that renders our pain somewhat dismissable and our allegations implausible?
"The Strong black woman":
Initially, the problematic archetype of the "strong black " comes to mind. The collective imagination in both black and mainstream culture has characterized black femme bodies as intrinsically linked to strength. Strength, measured against the innumerable systemic and personal challenges posed to and endured by black women. It is this mode of endurance which has sequestered black pain and vulnerability as barred from necessary discourse. You do not pay attention to a problem if you feel it has an available solution - the problems which plague black women are rendered solvable on the provision of their enduring strength. Therefore their pain and hardship are more easily dismissed and ignored in discourse. The establishment and maintenance of "the strong black woman" also allows for the maintenance of the status quo. Often used as a shield, and avoidance tactic- the archetype of the strong black woman allows for the continuance of abuses and grievances experienced by black to go unacknowledged.
Rooted in othering, "the strong black woman" allows for the continuation of acts of violence against the black femme physique. Othering, to be defined in terms of the definition established by John A. Powell and Stephen " as a set of dynamics, processes, and structures that engender marginality and persistent inequality across any of the full range of human differences based on group identities. Dimensions of othering include, but are not limited to, religion, sex, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status (class), disability, sexual orientation, and skin tone. Although the axes of difference that undergird these expressions of othering vary considerably and are deeply contextual, they contain a similar set of underlying dynamics....". In this context othering will be discussed beneath the lens of race, the systemic implications thereof and gender. Othering, often thrives at the helm of group-based exclusion, and while this exclusion cannot be specifically pinpointed in the case of black it can be contended that the intersections of race, gender, socio-economic status and sexuality encompassed by black renders us vulnerable to complex layers of prejudice and exclusion as a result thereof.
Author of "Behind the mask of the strong black woman" - Tamara Beauboeuf-Lafontant claims that this archetype emerged after the abolishment of slavery as a social justification for the brutalities committed against black women in the United States. Othering enables people to psychologically distance themselves from acts of violence, the perpetuation thereof or pain produced as a result thereof when this violence is committed against "the other". So in the case of R.Kelly, the plethora of predominantly black women against whom sexual and psychological were when beneath the lens of "the other" are subject to disbelief enabled by the psychological distance othering provides.
According to Powell and Menedian " Scholars have long observed a tendency within human societies to organize and collectively define themselves along dimensions of difference and sameness. Studies since the 1950s demonstrate the tendency of people to identify with whom they are grouped, no matter how arbitrary or even silly the group boundaries may be, and to judge members of their own group as superior. Studies dividing students into completely fabricated groups lead to consistently different perceptions of in-group and out-group members." Given that the African- American community a marginalized group in America, it would be legitimate to contend that black people are therefore already part of an out-group making them to prejudice and often discriminatory behaviour.
classification schemes are now understood as necessary to both survival and intelligence, and that human beings may be hardwired to make categorical distinctions. As one scholar explains, “If our species were ‘programmed’ to refrain from drawing inferences or taking action until we had complete, situation-specific data about each person or object we encountered, we would have died out long ago.” To function efficiently, our brains have evolved processes for simplifying the perceptual environment and acting on less-than-perfect information. The mechanism for accomplishing both goals is the use of categories.....
Although “human beings are cognitively programmed to form conceptual categories and use them to classify the people they counter,” the content, definition, and meaning of those categories is not automatic. In other words, although human beings have a natural tendency to make categorical distinctions, the categories themselves and meanings associated with those categories are socially constructed rather than natural." So while it can be accepted that race is a social construct - it is a social construct with a long-standing history of very real, material consequences. Consequences which have historically been rooted in prejudicial and discriminatory practices despite the necessary biological feature of categorization.
"[Continued] The categorical boundaries and social meanings inscribed in our minds, consciously and unconsciously, do not remain there but manifest in the world. They affect our behavior and inform our decisions.. Individual acts of discrimination on the basis of group-based stereotypes harms its victims, but group-based categories and meanings are social and collective. When replicated across society and over time, individual acts of discrimination have a cumulative and magnifying effect that may help explain many group-based inequalities".
A reality which may help explain the ability of a wide array of people to continually dismiss lone individuals who attempted to denounce R.Kelly or lodge successful allegations against the singer. The sexual abuse were already systemically disadvantaged by the mass psychology above, compounded with the trope of "the strong black women". "The strong black woman" has internalized narratives of endurance, and so to speak up is to be viewed as vulnerable which is to the archetype, an archetype firmly rooted in in-and-out group psychology alike. To be strong is to be able to endure insurmountable amounts of pain, "successfully" in accordance with the aforementioned archetype and group-think associated therewith. All of which to be considered without the ever-present gaze of patriarchy and misogyny.
What does this mean? Well, systemically your pain has already been categorized as normative and 'the norm' is often psychologically viewed as fixed and thereof acceptable. The pain of black forces a much-needed re-examination of the perpetual space established between in-and-out groups and thereof the dismantling of 'the other', followed by "the strong black woman".
While this could all be relegated to the zone of grand psychological conjecture - this is what it looks like practically :
Complete dismissal. Complete rejection and a baseless opinion, baseless except for perhaps the aforementioned psychology and patriarchy. That being said, my investigation couldn't ever be nearly as complex as all the moving parts that have comprised of R.Kelly's alleged abuse of a multitude of under-aged girls. For years, this grown man has, allegedly, preyed upon girls. Girls made vulnerable by nothing other than their age -appropriate. justifiable naivete. And it is an absence of this naivete that has struck me in much of the reporting surrounding not only his survivors but Kelly's ability to prey on them as a result thereof. However deeply rooted in rape culture it is to gaslight and discredit sexual assault survivors - in this case, there seemed to exist a totally remissive nonchalance to the reality that Kelly has (allegedly) largely continually preyed upon girls. While rape culture facilitates the blaming of young girls for a grown man's perversion - a culture demonstrated by the juror above - it is that continually robs the girls in this case of their innocence.
This is DEEP. The brilliant Dr. Norcott explains the ADULTIFICATION of children. Tune in tomorrow.Red Table Talk
Posted by Jada Pinkett Smith on Sunday, January 13, 2019
According to Collier Meyerson in the article "Adults Think Black Girls Are Older Than They Are—and It Matters" "According to a new report released by Georgetown University, such “” of black girls is a common occurrence. Beginning when they are 5 years old and continuing through age 19, black girls are viewed as more adult than their white counterparts. And this “” happens for a reason. Dating back to slavery, black women have been stereotyped as the “” (naturally hypersexual), the “sapphire” (angry and emasculating), or as the “mammy” (motherlike, asexual, and nurturing). The report found that these stereotypes are alive and well today, and shape our perceptions of black girls as well as black women.
The study found that starting at age 5, black girls were viewed by adults from different backgrounds as behaving and seeming older than they actually are, that they are assumed to know more about adult topics like sex, and that adults assume that they are likelier to take on the responsibilities of being an adult than other children their age...“In essence, our findings indicate that adults impose differential views and expectations about the development of black girls, stripping them of their identity and innocence as children and potentially diminishing their access to the very rights the system was designed to protect
The Georgetown study suggests that black girls are at the receiving end of a “double bind,” since they are viewed as more adult than their white counterparts, punished more for it, but are actually more vulnerable to the “discretionary authority” of the educators, law-enforcement officials, and others who are tasked with taking care of them. "
Meaning, that black girls innocence, subjected to conditional applicability by patriarchy. is then again scrutinized by undue . I assert that it is this pervasive mindset which allowed for the #SurvivingRKelly series to continually refer to the sexual abuse of the survivors as "sex" instead of pedophilic rape or rape. Adultification encourages the assumption of responsibility of young black girls prematurely.
The politics of pain & gendered disbelief :
The thing is, I knew this, not from all the reading I've done or from all the interviews I have consistently watched - I know this because I am a black girl. I'm a cyberfeminist because the world lends ear to the cries and of black feminists. I know this because of experience, living in a world which demands eloquence and research and before you're taken seriously. Easily undermined. I know the tales of a black - so I know R.Kelly has thrived for as long as he has because he has been enabled not only by other black but by the long-standing tradition of "the strong black man, subjected to unjust oppression". I know this in the same way Chance the Rapper knew it :
"Maybe I didn't care because I didn't value the accusors stories because they were black women"
So there it was, an answer to Jada Pinkett-Smith's disbelief earlier, there it "Maybe I didn't care because I didn't value the accusors stories because they were black women" Chance the Rapper touches not only on colourism but the politics of buy-in, he speaks to a larger issue of credibility.
In the interview the rapper (to be to as CTR) refers to having constructed Kelly out as a victim - seemingly hinged upon the of his and the of the pain they have experienced as a result of Kelly's alleged actions. How is it that the abuser has managed to construct for himself an image of vulnerability in the height of his abusiveness? It's because his "pain" has been endorsed, his "pain" is viewed to be legitimate. It is here where we enter the arena of the politics of pain.
Firstly, let's take a look at on a gendered level. The feminine has historically been subjected to the misogynistic pseudo-intellectual fallacy of hysteria. Hysteria was once historically associated with the feminine and a by-product of gender. And while this discussion could constitute an entirely separate article in itself, here's what you need to know on the history of hysteria, according to an article written by Ada McVean, OSS Intern for McGill Office for science and society - science from
"Hysteria was basically the medical explanation for ‘everything that men found mysterious or unmanageable in women’, a conclusion only supported by men’s (historic and continuing) dominance over medicine, and hysteria’s continued use as a synonym for “over-emotional” or “deranged.” It’s also worth noting how many of the problems physicians were attempting to fix in female patients, were not problems when they presented in male patients. Gendered stereotypes, like the ideas that women should be submissive, even-tempered, and sexually inhibited, have caused tremendous damage throughout history (and continue to do so today). It doesn’t seem so coincidental then that most modern treatments for hysteria involved regular (marital) sex, marriage or pregnancy and childbirth, all ‘proper’ activities for a ‘proper’ woman.
All things considered, most doctors and women alike were glad to see hysteria deleted from official Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1980."
Up until the hysteria was still considered a legitimate diagnosis despite the blatantly apparent misogyny present in the diagnostic application thereof. Only 10 years after Kelly's sexual misconduct allegations had begun to emerge. While this "gender-specific disorder" is no longer taken seriously by anyone with half a brain if not legitimately diagnosed - the stigma and implications of hysteria remain. A chasm remains intact in many peoples minds about ability to legitimately interpret the information communicated to us between our bodies and our psyche. Specifically in the realm of the scientific, which was for a long time gendered as a masculine field of study. The effects of which still remain. According to IT’S ALL IN YOUR HEAD: THE DANGERS OF DISBELIEVING FEMALE PAIN by Caroline Reilly
"women are disproportionately perceived to be anxious or overreacting when it comes to their health—a phenomenon referred to as “Yentl Syndrome” by the medical community...
Female bodies and their health are stigmatized and underserved, even in the medical profession
also plays a role in the misdiagnosis of health problems. As reported by Alternet, in a 2012 study, researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found doctors with “unconscious racial biases tend to dominate conversations with African-American patients.” Researchers have found that emergency room doctors are less likely to give pain medication to Black children suffering from stomach pain and that Hispanic and African-American kids experience longer ER waits than white kids. In another study published this year, researchers who worked with 222 white medical students found that “Possibly swayed by false beliefs about biological differences between white and Black people, some white medical students tend to rate the physical pain of a hypothetical African American patient as less severe than that of a white patient in the same circumstances.” This systemic bias against seeing the pain of Black patients as just as real as white patients up to a disparity in treatment that the medical industry absolutely must address. [ Sidebar, the recent death of Kim Porter, as well as the difficulties in pregnancy faced by both Serena Williams and Beyoncé are to this.]
Existing in tandem with the disbelief of female pain is the notion that women should experience pain—that it’s ingrained in the “feminine” experience. In the ER we’re asked, “Are you sure it’s not that time of the month?” When we complain to our or peers, or doctors that our cramps are debilitating, we’re handed painkillers and heating pads but rarely answers. We’re told that periods are supposed to hurt. We’re told that symptoms like nausea, headaches, and debilitating abdominal pain are all just part of the ride. We’re told that everything looks “normal.”
Female pain exists in a crossroad of stigma, disbelief, and misogyny. The same world that tells us to be female is to be weak and fragile expects us to understand that to be female is also to grind our teeth through . We are expected to buck up and shut up about our discomfort so we don’t embarrass the same people who have the audacity to tell us our bodies are embarrassing."
According to the following interview Virginie desptentes "Argues that rape is a fact of being a woman but it doesn't have to define being a woman".
And again, there is an assumption or rather acknowledgement that severe pain is somehow with and almost an accompanying state of existence for . While the merits of Despentes must be made subject to vigorous debates - the statement alludes to a larger dynamic. The dynamic being the prevalence of conditionally normalized feminine pain and the criterion for the acceptance thereof as legitimate. Under what circumstances is female pain made acceptable? When deemed natural in childbirth? When associated with remaining in an unhappy marriage? What circumstances mitigate the politics of pain?
Womxn are routinely disbelieved by virtue of our gender. What point am I trying to prove? If physical ailments experienced by womxn are still disbelieved to this day ( as a result of the pervasive stigma attached to feminine physiology and the partially applicable acceptance of pain being inherent to the feminine form )- Would it not then be remiss to expect that the psychological and physical pain experienced as a result of sexual assault abuse perpetrated by a cishet male be believed without question? The disbelief of womxn is deeply entrenched at the heart of patriarchy. The buy-in recieved by womxn regaurding our pain is conditional subject to the laws of patriarchy. Meaning, on a gendered level R.Kelly's survivors were already exceptionally disadvantaged. If physical pain experienced by womxn, independent of men, is already medically subject to scrutiny - how can one expect to be believed when your pain is as a direct result of male actions?
The reality is that " Female pain is fetishized but never vindicated. It’s easier to objectify women, that continuous attack on subjecthood under patriarchy, both in interpersonal relationships and in society. " The fetishization of female pain is central to the survival of patriarchy. Female pain signalizes an imbalance in perceived autonomy. Female pain is often subject to male consumption as a result of the male gaze and is therefore deemed "valid" or "invalid" beneath this gaze. This continues to affirm a gendered power imbalance. In this framework, pain is legitimized or delegitimized contingent on the basis of the male gaze. This ultimately subverts female autonomy not only of their pain but the acknowledgement and acceptance thereof. This, despite the masculine's direct contribution to the subjugation and oppression of resulting in the initial pain.
It is in this understanding that the legitimacy of the justice system pertaining to sexual assault survivors must be questioned - particularly with regards to the united states jury system. This system demands sexual assault survivors to perform their pain in the hopes of securing justice, but what justice can hope to be achieved in the re-traumatization of ? This method of inquiry illegitimately "crystallizes a broader disdain for that is understood as performed rather than legitimately felt... [it] tries to draw a boundary between authentic and fabricated pain,"
In R.Kelly's trial, there exists the pervasive sentiment that the trail may have achieved a different outcome if the child in the video were to have stepped forward and stood trial. However, given the set of gendered pain politics outlined above - is this arena even remotely conducive for anyone to stand trial? Particularly, given the fact that many of R.Kelly's accusors account being allegedly coerced into non-consensual sexual acts with other girls. It is a well-known fact that queer sexual acts performed by womxn are fetishized and often inappropriately consumed by the male gaze, regardless of the context. Given the patriarchal nature of the justice system, could it even be considered just to expect of any womxn to explain her pain knowing it's the likelihood for its fetihishized consumption?
And while Kelly's accusors have continually been subjected to scrutiny the validity of their allegations and the "deservingness" support - one individual has managed to stage themselves perfectly in victimhood; R. Kelly. It is victimhood that Chance the Rapper alludes to in the beginning, the perceived victimhood of Kelly. Throughout my interrogation of Kelly, I have how Kelly has framed himself as in two tiers - his systemic vulnerability as a member of a marginalized racial group (i,e, The black man as the historical underdog) and R.Kelly as a former victim of sexual assault.
R.Kelly has acknowledged that he was subject to sexual abuse as a child in the past. Moreover, his brother Carey confirms the likelihood of Kelly's alleged sexual abuse given his own sexual abuse by a family member who remained unnamed in the Lifetime docuseries. As of last week, Carey's older brother gave the following interview, revealing his eldest sister to be the perpetrator. Suspicion exists that the eldest Kelly sister may have also been sexually abusive towards R.Kelly.
TW : This interview contains incredibly graphic descriptors
There is victimhood in any sexual assault scenario. While patriarchy creates a gendered double-standard the vulnerability of boys in sexual assault cases it is irrefutable that boys suffer great pain when subjected to sexual abuse. Not only because of how patriarchy frames sexual abuse as somehow a feminizing factor which boys ought not to experience but because of how this feminization of violence greatly discourages boys and men from talking about their sexual abuse - especially when this abuse is perpetrated by against a man or boy. Sexual abuse is not unique to women - sexual abuse is not a women's problem. During the conversation surrounding R.Kelly and this cultural shift in the music industry, talk has arisen about the abuse that Kelly endured as a child and how that must surely contribute to the allegations and/or Kelly's perverted behaviour. While I study psychology, I am not a psychologist - I cannot make these type of judgement calls given the vague details of his specific abuse and my general disdain for the figure involved. What I do know is this - patterns tend to be cyclic. A beloved history teacher in high school often said - Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It is not a psychological secret that victims often assume the role of the abuser and the oppressed the oppressor. This may very well be the case in this specific scenario and it does not seem to be an outlandish accusation to assume that power has corrupted Kelly.
What bothers me and aggravates me is the illegitimate conflation of abuse for abuser - what do I mean? Kelly was abused - so somehow his victimhood justifies his exploitation of others according to illogical assholes the world over. Talk has arisen that people don't care about the abuse of boys/men and all the focus around these discussions is invested in womxn. Sigh. Firstly, we do not need to enter into abuse olympics. Discussions like this often try and centre around whose abuse is somehow worse or less societally sanctioned. Abuse is abuse is abuse. That's the first thing. Seconly, discussions around sexual abuse that centre boys/men is extremely neccesary but cannot always occur in a reactionary fashion. We cannot legitimately entertain discussions around the abuse of boys/men if these discussions are used as a tactic to derail the discourse at present. Discussions surrounding the abuse of men cannot always be at the expense of the discourse at present. The continued bid to enter into the abuse by , claiming that Kelly's need to also be spotlighted in this discussion cannot be entertained. My sympathies with Kelly were few and far begin with - now they are not non-existent. The attempt to use history with sexual abuse as a shield to indemnify him from his behaviour not only sickens me but angers me. Discourse regaurding the abuse of men has become more readily avaliable and mainstream in light of the #metoomovement. Terry Crews stood forth as a beacon for men and boys who have been subjected to sexual abuse and my question is this - where were these men crying over R.Kelly then? Where was their support? Nowhere to be found because their support is non-existent. The continued misuse of Kelly's sexual abuse history is a decoy and a cloak for misogynists who cannot stand to see a former cultural icon dismantled for the abuser that he is. There exists no legitimate investment in the plight of sexually abused men by these . And do you know why? It's because the rigorous interrogation of R.Kelly is a direct attack on patriarchy. Terry Crews has not presented the problem of sexual abuse in a way that is made to toxic masculinity. Terry Crews has stood forth as an ally to the feminist cause. Terry Crews has a legitimate investment in the dismantling of because he is aware that enables abuse.
Then we must address the claim by patriarchs that sexual abuse discourse has been centred around - this is true in that are statistically more vulnerable to sexual abuse. This is a sad but universal truth at present and I don't need statistics to prove this- given my residency in the rape of the world. Okay? okay. So while we're on the topic of abuse Olympics I have to pose this challenge to the men defending Kelly. If One in five women been sexually assaulted, analysis finds (it is that this figure from country to country- obviously) then surely you know a who has been sexually assaulted/abused? Assuming that most people know or have interacted with more than 5 in their life - of those how many do you know that have used their positionality to sexually exploit and abuse others? Okay - take a second to digest that. Yes? let's continue using logic that is defending R. Kelly Of those that you know, how many would you defend if you were made aware that they were sexual predators abusing How many of them would you defend with the that they too were once abused?
That concludes the ludicrious nature of that debate and the abuse olympics have been drawn to a much needed close.
Now addressing the supposed victimhood of Kelly according to - mense everywhere, the ever so-pogniant Boondocks :
I have not, and I will never prioritize the protection of black men simply because of our shared marginality. I will never allow black to be the scapegoat to the vices of powerful men. I will never allow black girls to be made to feel guilty for surviving abuse and disallowing the continuance thereof. My allyship rests with justice, my allyship rests with marginalized . My purpose in this life can never be reduced to defending abusive men who thrive on the exploitation of just like me because we battle the same ills of systemic racial violence. That is all there is to be said on the alleged victimhood of Kelly in the eyes of other powerful men whose power corrupts absolutely. R.Kelly has been remained protected and enabled by (predominantly) other men who value their masculinity and shared marginality and love for late-stage capitalism above their humanity. Black have routinely and historically fallen upon the sword of protecting black men - the era of protecting black men who rarely protect us must come to an end. There also has to exist a for our protection and support - abuse and violence funded by cannot make the cut. In the continued allegations against R.kelly, the only famous, influential black male to speak out against Kelly John Legend, is Vince Staples. Stapels said the following about Kelly :
Skip to 2:45 if you're desperately impatient
So now what?
R. Kelly‘s management responded to the organization Time’s Up’s call to boycott the R&B singer’s music because of the ways he has allegedly mistreated women. “R. Kelly supports the pro-women goals of the Time’s Up movement,” the statement read. “We understand criticizing a famous artist is a good way to draw attention to those goals – and in this case, it is unjust and off-target.”
It later went on to say, “We will vigorously resist this attempted public lynching of a black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture."
While this revisionist exploitation of Kellys' positionality is laughable the cost of black culture must then be re-looked. At what cost Kelly's cultural contributions been sustained? What is black culture willing to endure in the name of entertainment culture and to whose benefit? Why are contributions made to black culture, rooted in pain-profiteering somehow acceptable? Are they acceptable? Moreover, this feels to be Kelly's last card in an overdrawn deck - Kelly can no longer exploit and has now taken to the exploitation of the historical violence committed against black bodies - it's obvious and it's transparent, it's also wildly inappropriate. The second last card that Kelly has drawn is to devise a witch-hunt of his "R. Kelly is looking to respond to the series by trying to those who have come forward to tell their story about their experiences with the singer.
According to TMZ, he will do so by opening up a website called "Surviving Lies" in which he releases videos allegedly exposing his accuses and what he feels is their motivation to tell their stories."
The hypocrisy of Kelly and tragic irony is ever-present in his disdain for a public trial in the media and subsequent response in the exact same manner towards his accusers. That is, the accusers that Kelly hasn't paid off in out of court settlements - which can be found as a matter of public record.
R.Kelly has been enabled by complacency not only of those in his inner-circle but by those who entertain debates about "separating the art from the artist". Art is a product of the circumstances. If R.Kelly's circumstances the alleged pedophilic exploitation of black girls and sexual abuse thereof- then one questions remains ; is his art then even art at all? You cannot art from the artists if your endorsement of the art directly funds the artist. Listening to R.Kelly is directly investing in the alleged sexual abuse and exploitation of young black girls. Listening to R.kelly is a violent act of complacency and investment in a rapist. Listening to R.Kelly is an act of war against the black girl child.
In conclusion Fuck R.Kelly.