Delayed Response and Delayed Outrage

Last weekend Lifetime aired the Surviving R. Kelly documentary. The documentary focused on the R&B singer's relationships with teenage girls and the accusations against him during the 1990s. The documentary featured commentary from victims, parents of the victims, writers, social critics, talk show host, and R. Kelly's ex-wife. I admit I did not watch the documentary I only saw clips of it on social media. I admit that I did not intend to watch it. I'm going to explain why.
R. Kelly and Aaliyah in the 1990s

 I want to make a few things clear. I believe that victims of sexual harassment, rape, and domestic violence deserve to be awarded justice. I also believe that they should be able to rebuild their lives, find peace, and see their abusers to be held accountable. I did not watch the documentary because I did not like the delayed reaction to the actions of R. Kelly. It has been known for years that he is sexually attracted to teenage girls and nobody attempted to hold him accountable. R. Kelly emerged on the music scene in the early 1990s. It was no secret that he was married to the late singer Aaliyah who was 15 while he was 27 at the time. Aaliyah was his musical protégé  she was introduced to R. Kelly three years earlier at the age of 12. Aaliyah's uncle Barry Hankerson is the founder of Blackground Records.  He is the man that her introduced her to R. Kelly. At the time there was no legal action taken against R. Kelly. The music industry ignored the relationship as well.

In February 2002 The Chicago Times Newspaper revealed that a video surfaced of R. Kelly engaging in sex with an underage girl. It was revealed that he urinated on the minor.  This young lady was the niece of R. Kelly's protégé singer Sparkle. Sparkle heard about the rumors about R. Kelly's fetish for teenage girls  Yet, she still introduced her niece to him. R. Kelly denied being the man in the video. In June 2002 he was indicted on 21 counts of child pornography. In January 2003 was arrested on the child pornography charges. In March 2004 the charges were dropped due to the lack of probable cause for search warrants in Florida. Four years late in 2008 a Chicago jury found not guilty of 14 counts of child pornography.

In 2017 Jim DeRogatis of BuzzFeed news, reported that R. Kelly was accused by three sets of parents of holding their daughters hostage in an abusive sex cult. R. Kelly and the alleged victims denied the accusations. On April 17, 2018 R. Kelly accused was giving a former female partner a sexually transmitted disease. R. Kelly denied the accusations. On social media a #MuteRKelly hash tag flooded Twitter. The hash tag has resurfaced since the release of the documentary.

Toni's Thoughts: As I said before it I believe victims deserve justice and to see their abusers be held accountable. My issue with the documentary is the fall out response. People act as if it is new information that R. Kelly is a predator. People should have been proactive much sooner. Parents pimped their daughters out for fame and fortune. Sparkle introduced her niece to this man knowing what his habits and attractions were. I believe some people are condemning R. Kelly now only because it has become a hot trending topic not because they actually care about the victims. Singers such as Tank and Omarion have condemned R. Kelly recently. Omarion is a hypocrite for condemning R.Kelly now because he has worked with R. Kelly in the past. When Omarion was a member of B2K R.Kelly produced two of their biggest hit songs "Bump, Bump, Bump," and "Girlfriend." Omarion's former band mate Raz- B revealed that their former manager Chris Stokes sexually abused him and his band mates. Omarion has remained silent about the entire situation. Omarion has recently stated he will not perform the songs R. Kelly wrote for B2K on their upcoming reunion tour. I would like know why didn't Omarion protest working with R. Kelly back in 2003. He could have refused to work with him then.

It was revealed back in 2012 that R. Kelly was molested by his sister and other family members. I believe this experience damaged R. Kelly and it explains why he has preferred not to be intimate with women his age. It seems as though he is repulsed by them due to his molestation as a child. This does not excuse the actions of R. Kelly but it does put things into context. Unfortunately R. Kelly was a victim of molestation that grew up to replicate the same behavior that is sad and disturbing.

Another thing that has irritated me since the release of the documentary is the conversation around sexual molestation. Many people continue to say that boys need to be taught not be predators. I support that sentiment but I also believe that girls need to be taught the same. We have many boys that were raped by women and develop psychological and intimacy issues into adulthood. When you say that you care about victims be honest. Now that the documentary has been released. I want consistency all predators should be condemned, ostracized, and punished. Do not stop with R. Kelly. There needs to be a documentary on Allison Mack, Woody Allen, etc. The outrage from the music industry and social critic pundits is disingenuous to me. They knew and said nothing at this point many people are on a band wagon to protect their brands. I'm not defending R. Kelly I just have an issue with the popular outrage. I have no respect for the people that put teenage girls in harm's way. I have no respect for people that exploit the pain of others.  I am skeptical of R. Kelly's ex-wife Andrea. I used to watch her on the reality show Hollywood Exes. The premise of the show was about the ex-wife of prominent entertainers. I remember Andrea not speaking too ill of her ex-husband R. Kelly. She did mention he was  not present at the hospital during the birth of their children. She mentioned he did had extramarital affairs. Overall she did not allow people to speak ill of her ex-husband and I remember seeing her defend him. I was confused to know that she has been doing speaking engagements tearfully condemning R. Kelly. I am not saying he was a great husband. I just don't understand the inconsistency. I always wanted to know why she married R. Kelly and worked with him. Once again it was known he had a fetish for teenager girls. Why would you marry a man like that?

I also believe it is wrong to assert that the entire Black American community supports both R. Kelly and pedophilia. In particular Black men have taken the brunt of the criticism in regards to the R. Kelly situation. Let's keep in mind his fan base has been Black women. They are worthy of just as much criticism. Yes, R. Kelly is super musically inclined but he is a very disturbed individual.


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