What if I told you a man could be accused of sexual misconduct with a minor but his fan base still supported him? What if I told you there was recorded evidence of this man committing or admitting to committing heinous acts but his fan base still supported him? If I asked these questions to your average black or brown person I’m willing to bet good money their answer would be that I must be describing President Donald Trump and the MAGA Hat Mafia… But what if I told you I was actually talking about R. Kelly and Kellyphiles?
What? Why are you looking at me like that? Whether you want to admit it or not R. Kelly and his fans are nothing more than the BET version of Donald Trump and his supporters.
Stings when you hear it out loud, doesn’t it? If you have spent the last two years wondering how someone could be so vile but still have such a staggering amount of support while bumping the remix edition of a song called Ignition, you are part of the problem. Your unwavering support helped R. Kelly go from general creep to full-on megalomaniac with a god complex.
Though Trump’s rise happened in much quicker fashion than Kells, the parallels listed above are undeniable. If hearing this bothers you this next point will probably make you want to throw things:
It’s not just R. Kelly’s rabid fans that are guilty here. It’s damn near every member of the black community. R. Kelly has never paid for his *sigh* alleged crimes mainly because of this “thing” that exists within the black community. It’s a “thing” that we tend not to talk about but we all know it exists. It’s that thing that stops a father from pummeling his brother who inappropriately touched his daughter. It’s a “thing” that makes our parents tell us to make sure you don’t go over cousin so-and-so’s house alone. It’s the same thing that prevented Sparkle’s niece’s parents from allowing the young lady to testify that one time R. Kelly was actually put on trial. It’s that SAME thing that motivates Sparkle’s brother to get on the stand after Sparkle identified her niece on the infamous sex tape and say unequivocally that it wasn’t his niece on the tape. That “thing” is known by its more common name: shame.
It stinks but many of the things the black community put up with are rooted in this invisible idea of not wanting to shame themselves, their family, or church. That’s why your creepy uncle was allowed to make passes at you without anyone saying anything other than how YOU need to make sure you aren’t with this person alone. If our community is willing to put that type of onus on their own CHILDREN, what do you think will happen when their beloved king of R&B is placed in a similar situation?
The boondocks dedicated an entire episode to how stupid black folks are for their (at the time) unwavering support of R. Kelly. The episode depicted R. Kelly during the trial and the thousands of fans who protested in support of Kelly in the worst light possible, which is exactly how they should have been depicted. Seeing all those black folks during the real trial banding together calling the accusers liars and pledging their undying support to R. Kelly was one of many low points for the Black Community as a whole. In the show (and in real life), the prosecution had a boatload of evidence but none of it mattered to the jury. Having video of a grown man urinating on a little girl wasn’t enough. Let that sink in for a bit.
Why do you think that was? Why would Kelly be able to get away with this? The answer is two-fold. One- because most people value R. Kelly’s musical accomplishments over the life of the young lady R. Kelly statutorily raped (*sigh- allegedly). Two- because the girl’s family (other than Sparkle- who essentially gave up her singing career to lead the charge against R. Kelly) refused to produce the girl or positively identify her via the sex tape. What would possibly stop a family from seeking justice? Sure money may have been a factor- Sparkle was quoted as saying she wasn’t 100% sure her family wasn’t paid off, but their insistence reeks of that “thing” we discussed earlier. Admitting that was their daughter on the tape would have brought SHAME to their family. Can’t have that, now can we?
An even deeper problem in our (the black community) is most of us value our shame over the lives of not just each other, but black woman specifically. None of us are exempt from that. Even the supposed King of the Black Social Justice Warriors Chance the Rapper. I will not lie to any of you. I personally have always found Chance to be disingenuous, but his comments when discussing R.Kelly further prove the point that as a people a lot of us have serious work to do.
Chance later said the statement was taken out of context. I would be hard pressed to believe someone who flat out said that he didn’t value the accusers because they were black women can possibly be taken out of context. No matter how much backtracking Chance does, his statements are a microcosm of not just how black women are viewed by Caucasians, but by the black community as a whole.
At the end of the day, R. Kelly should be punished for his crimes. But here is the rub: it doesn’t matter if R. Kelly gets thrown under the jail unless we, the black community, take a hard look at ourselves. Until we learn to love and value each other more than we value stepping in the name of love we will just end up creating the next R. Kelly. If that’s the way you choose to live, you might as well be fitted with a MAGA hat and tiki torch now. You have become everything you claim to hate. If you still refuse to believe that we are all responsible for this that’s fine. A wise man once said:
“The absence of evidence isn’t the evidence of absence…”
⁃ R. Kelly’s Cartoon Lawyer