author – activist – faculty – mom
1. Stop raping young girls & lying about it
2. Justice for victims, not gag-order settlements
3. Get therapy for your own past sexual abuse
@jesshopp & @JimDeRogatis for reporting, to @silvercat20 & @TommyGunSA for starting the hashtag & to @BritniDWrites who said “For the record, #RKelly will never, ever, ever get one DIME of my money. Like ever”
Just over a decade ago, I wrote a spoken word piece about R.Kelly. I had witnessed with horror the revelation of a video of him having sex with and urinating on an underage woman, only for it to be greeted with huge numbers of defenders, apologists, and supporters of Kelly. I was filled with rage and sorrow, but no words came. Only later, when I read an article in GQ magazine that reported how he was allegedly molested by a neighbor was I finally filled with words, and I wrote this piece. As someone who has worked with GenerationFive, an organization dedicated to end child sexual abuse in five generations, I recognized the cycle of abuse that had played out repeatedly. Due to the misogyny, racism, and economic exploitation of our society, every attempt to interrupt the cycle of violence was derailed.
I originally wrote this post in early December, in appreciation of all the Black Feminist Discourse about R Kelly, including Akiba Solomon’s piece in Colorlines, and especially the #FastTailedGirls hashtag on twitter created by Mikki Kendall (@Karynthia) and Jamie Nesbitt Golden (@thewayoftheid) of @HoodFeminism, in which I participated. I also appreciated high profile black women speaking out on twitter like Melissa Harris-Perry and @JamilahLemieux: “You hipster clowns who breathed life into the rotting corpse of R Kelly’s career make me sick.”
So I’ll add my voice to the mix. In republishing this piece on R Kelly, I updated it only slightly. Unfortunately, it’s still relevant today. Full text below. Needless to say, trigger warning.
This is dedicated to all the young black survivors of sexual violence in connection with R Kelly, including R Kelly, himself.
R Kelly is innocent! R Kelly is innocent!
Okay, so the GQ article says he was allegedly molested by a trusted man in his neighborhood. Can you doubt it? Or did you just think Black men were animals? Who else but the formerly molested could work up an appetite for vacant-eyed girl/children. The question isn’t whether he did it. Of course he did it. The question is when are folks gonna make sure he gets help!
And I don’t mean the traditional Black church. Shame-based sermonizing has only taught him to wax more pious and press sharper creases into the suit hiding semen stains of last night’s transgression; to say amen louder as the preacher shakes his own hypocritical finger at the congregation, talking about original sin? I’m talking about original innocence! R Kelley is innocent. Was innocent originally. He is looking for his lost childhood between the legs of someone else’s junior high prom date. Listen brother, that won’t bring your innocence back, won’t put your childhood intact.
And I blame the industry. Supplying high school freshmeat like fruit baskets and limos and champagne and a mint on the pillow. Our daughters are not fringe benefits for you to serve up to wounded men whose twisted artistry keeps you paid! The album shouldn’t have been called black panties. It should have been called white Disney princess panties. I want some jail sentences for the record executives and the lawyers who drafted up those settlement agreements where young women had stiff dollar bills shoved into their mouths to buy their silence. Let the suits do some hard time for conspiracy to commit statutory rape while R Kelly goes into some no joke rehabilitative program for sex offenders where he gets plenty of therapy that will help him make amends by transformative justice. Surround him with people who can hold him while he cries over what he has done and what was done to him—get the brother some help, and then he can donate all his money to set up the R Kelly fund for victims of pedophilia fund to get his victims some help too.
R Kelly’s not the boss musicmaker, he’s the groupie, giving up some ass to everyone on the tour bus, while record execs got him strung out on teenage pussy. R Kelly giving top forty mindless pop single jobs in the back of cars to rich record execs who don’t even remember his name.
But mostly I wonder, why you had to make the video. Did you want to get caught? A cry for help? Or did you need evidence for the case you’re building in your own head? I am the one in control, this time? I’m not the one on my knees, mouth full of urine, dick in my face. I am not the one young, vacant-eyed and frightened, needing you to love me, wondering if it’s something I did wrong? If I pleased you? If it means I’m gay? If cartoons will still be on when I get home.
Why did you make the video? Is it because that’s how you saw it before? Outside your body? Brown boy’s frame crumpled before the trusted man. Spirit removing itself to stay safe. Spirit floating outside and watching the scene like a camera, recording it all. Watching. Floating. Leaving the ground. Spirit removing itself. stay safe! Stay safe! I’m not here! This is not happening! Not to me. I’m floating. Just floating away. I’m floating away. Is that how come you believe you can fly?