We Are Responsible for R. Kelly and Bill Cosby, It’s Time We Talk About It and Deal With What We Helped Create
Another day, another story of a celebrity black man being exposed for being a piece of trash. Same stories, different names with new allegations. To say that I am shocked would be a lie and to say that I am disappointed when be a miscommunication of the truth. The truth is I’m done. Step between wanting to be out raged, being out raged, not knowing what to do and giving up. If it ever seems like it uphill battle that we are destined to lose.
Photo from Huffington Post
The past two weeks have been crazy on social media. My Facebook timeline has been blazing with all of the new stories surrounding black men in Hollywood. Most recently the verdict for Bill Cosby was revealed and of course my timeline was on fire. People wanting to argue legacy over accountability versus the people who were arguing accountability over legacy. It was, and still is, a complete and utter mess.
It was the discussion that was hard to miss as it ripped through the media, dividing the digital black community once again. Comments and threads on ever major social media platform were in complete shambles. Friendships and alliances forever shattered everywhere. Being that I have engaged in this discussion more times than I care to count over the last five years I decided to sit this one out for the most part. I'm tired, honestly. I think I’ve made it abundantly clear over the last few years what my position was. I have held countless discussions regarding what constitutes as rape. I've been banned/blocked/canceled more times that I care to admit (because really, who celebrates jail? even if it is digital) and I kind of need my account because I do other stuff on the internet that contributes to my back account, so I don’t really think that it’s best for "my" personal well-being to enter this discussion knowing what the outcome is going to be.
So, I continued to scroll...
It wasn’t too long before my timeline was once again on the blaze after Kelis came out and rebuild that black America is godson, Nasir Jones, was in abusive alcoholic controlling husband on top of being a deadbeat father. Most of us Who took the time to actually listen to his oldest daughters mom years ago whole gang symbol their accounts of her relationship with him already knew this. He has even gone on record to admit some of the things that were spoken about. But of course, this did not stop people from jumping to defend Him against anyone to speak ill of this lyrical God. But we knew.
But knowing didn't stop the majority of us from referring to him as our "future baby daddy". We liked that shit. Let's be honest. But most of us who are old enough to remember the allegations brought against him before were too busy lusting over him in Belly to care. I mean, he gave us "Oochie Wally" for the love of White baby Jesus.
No sooner did that story break that the organizers and leaders behind #timesup announced that they were joining forces with an already active campaign on social media, #muteRKelly, in an attempt to finally take this man down for the years, decades of sexual misconduct and sexual abuse that he is responsible for as it pertains to young black girls and young black teenagers throughout his career.
You know what happens next. You guessed it, once again timeline on fire. I think this has to be a new record for highest number of people canceled, blocked and deleted in a single month.
These last few weeks I have sat back and watched. I spent my time creeping in comments section and watching people arguing point after point. I’ve watched videos and everything that you can imagine and I think that it’s time we got down to the meat and bones of the argument. A bit of what they like to call the "bitter truth". And I know that the truth is something that a lot of people request, but it takes a certain degree of person to be able to take the truth, acknowledge it without personalizing it or making it about you. Especially when you can see yourself in it. I guess this is why most people tend to beat around the bush and in cha-cha around topics that they deem to be sensitive but you know I’ve never been one to shy away from controversy.
Are you ready for some cold hard truth? Here it is.
Bill Cosby, R. Kelly, and the like are our own fault. We created these monsters. The chaos that these men and men like them create and the pain that they inflict on individual people, particularly women, is our own doing. Collectively? Sure, but this one is on us.
Are you still with me? I am sure that statement alone will be enough for some to immediately exit this article, but not before taking a screenshot of just that one paragraph (without before or after context) to aid in their plight to start a cancel Jenn (again) campaign. To be clear, no I’m not drunk. I don't even drink like that. I'n not high either and I’m fully aware of what I am saying. Because what I’m saying is a harsh truth born out of a difficult talk that I had to have with myself. You know that whole accountability thing I be on. So what am I saying and what exactly is my angle?
What I am saying is that collectively the black community is responsible for the pain and the hurt that these men have created and continue to create. Because we allow it. We don’t do shit but talk. We don’t get angry enough to react until it happens to us. Our community has a very strong attitude towards not getting involved if it’s not happening to us.
We don’t protect our girls. We don't arm our girls. We don't listen to our girls. We don't care about our girls.
Instead of educating our daughters about life as it was, we tried to shield them. Even in 2018, there are parents who refuse to acknowledge that the world is indeed not the same as it was 50 years ago, hell it's not even the same as it was last year and because of this refusal to acknowledge the shift society continues to make, as it evolves we have parents teaching old lessons to young girls that either no longer apply or are completely unrealistic in theory.
We try to feed them this fairytale of Utopia where women are free to do what they want without fear, where women are allowed to be sexually liberated and creative with their individuality, we paint pictures of gummy bears and lollipops falling from the sky. Because we want to protect them. I get that. I battle with this everyday raising my own daughter. It's the constant struggle of protecting her innocence for as long as possible or giving her an advanced taste of what it is like to live in 2018 as a Black woman in America.
They have a whole life ahead of them to deal with the harsh reality of this world and their place in it as it currently stands but by refusing to tackle tough issues, properly educate and arm our daughters we are setting them up for failure and making them pray for predators like R Kelly. For controlling, manipulative and emotionally immature men like Nasir. And we are sending them out into the world to have to deal with men like Bill Cosby use their position, their connections, the accolades and their titles to control and take advantage of them.
The same way "our" mothers did us, and their mothers did them.
Black Americas Untouchable Favorite TV dad...
Race aside (probably the only time this will happen), it doesn’t matter what race or ethnicity those women were or are because to be honest, it is my belief that only a small fraction of his victims actually came forth. I believe that there are far more victims out there who are still silent and unaccounted for. That’s their prerogative and they are right. These recent storm of allegations against Cosby is not the first time that we have heard stories of how he used drugs to lower the guard of women so that he could have sex with him the way that he wanted to. It is not a secret in Hollywood at all. It’s just something that people refuse to accept because in their mind they have not yet learned how to separate the character from the ACTor.
The fact is that NO woman deserves to be violated and no matter how tired I am of basic Ann and Jetson Kelly, I can not bring myself to turn a blind eye to a horrific crime against a group of women simply because they are White. Because in a situation like this, just as much as they are White and were undoubtedly raped, it could have been me. It could have been any woman and I am sure that ol’ Cosby in true predator fashion did not discriminate when it comes to taking bodies that didn't belong to him.
All of the supporting posts that I have seen place blame on the women for whatever happened to them because according to them they should have been smarter, they should have known better, and they knew what it was when they agreed to hang out. I have read people say that if you are stupid enough to hang out with a guy by yourself, especially in his home knowing what could happen whatever happens to you it’s your fault and you shouldn’t cry about it because you knew the risk.
Ladies do you hear this?
I'm known to light up. It’s one of my favorite pastimes. Keeps me out of trouble. But I realized as a young bopper that men had an unhealthy sense of entitlement that, when presented with something that he can't have, makes him think that taking it by any means necessary is some kind of charge for their deflated ego. This kind of mentality is why I stopped accepting invitations to go smoke and hang out with men who offered. And on the rare occasions that I did feel like showing up, I would always bring my own and would only touch my own. If you weren't careful you'd find yourself running around butt naked humping on anything moving and wouldn't remember any of it the next morning. All because some guy wanted to have sex with you and more than likely knew that he had no chance of getting it. You know. The "nice guys".
What’s even scarier is that there are literally millions of men who see absolutely nothing wrong with what he did. And the reason is because I would argue that about 85% (being generous) are guilty of doing exactly what Bill Cosby did. And it’s not so much that they don’t believe that it’s right, they don’t want to acknowledge that it is rape because doing so would force them to say that they too are rapists or guilty of sexual assault.
Its happened to me. Its how my first rape happened. Its how I’ve had more than a few moments I took an “L” for because people like you told me it wasn’t “rape”.
I have a few bodies in my bag that I can admittedly say that had I been sober and of sound mind that person would have never stood a chance in hell sleeping with me. But I was either too intoxicated to say "no" and/or verbally revoke consent. Honestly, it's part of the reason why I no longer drink unless I am home and if I do drink when out I purchase my own drink and usually request a woman bartender on my tab.
And it doesn’t help that references to rape and rape culture can be found in literally every single piece of media available to us. It’s in our movies, our music, on our TV and radio, in our magazines. It’s literally glamorized and has been romanticized. Most people would say that art imitates life, but I would argue that in the last few decades life has been imitating art and not in a very flattering way.
In 2018, Bill Cosby was found guilty of doing exactly what Rick Ross said he was going to do to a girl in U.O.E.N.O. The same thing that Future raps about doing. Date rape has become normalized and a part of urban pop culture (Note: I know that this is not limited to just the Black community). And I’m guilty as well of popping my backside when a Future beat drops but it doesn’t take away from the fact that the message is there but for the beat goes ignored.
Cosby should have been canceled and excommunicated a long time ago. But he wasn’t because Black people wanted to get a piece of the freshly baked cherry pie he was serving back in the 70s, 80s and early 90s. They made him immortal and they made him a God.
The most vocal amongst his support has always been women. Even in the midst of his trial, women were the loudest and the ones “I” personally encountered more when the topic was on the table.
Black women, The Pied Piper is on us...
R. Kelly created his musical legacy pandering to the sexuality and sexual needs of women. He used his words and his lyrics to seduce and captivate his audience. Going back as far as I can remember R.Kelly has always been the “sex”. And his core audience were women. And EVERYBODY loved Robert Kelly. But y’all ain't low.
I, like many others my age, was too young at the time to know about the relationship between him and Aaliyah. I didn’t discover Aaliyah until her “One in a Million” LP dropped. Back then celebrities were a bit more reserved with their personal lives and most of the information provided to the public was given through tabloids at the checkout stand in magazines that everyone knew not to believe.
One of my first memories of R. Kelly, when I guess I discovered him as an artist by name was when I was about 11 years old and I was watching The Box when the video for “Half on a Baby” came on. I remember seeing his “bulge” print through his white pants. I was late to the R Kelly exposure because my mother restricted, or at least tried, to restrict what I watched and listened to. I literally had to fight for my right to listen to TLC’s “Oooooooh, On The TLC Tip” cassette tape. I think after grounding me and whooping me so many times for stealing the tape out of her room while she was at work she finally gave up the ghost and just let it happen. So, although I had heard many of his songs in passing as I was sneaking and listening to things I wasn’t supposed to, I didn’t know him by name. It wasn’t until I was about 13 that I got curious which is normal because it’s usually around that age that kids start finding themselves and learning more about the things that they like or don’t like. I wanted to sing so for me it was important for me to know all of the words to all of my favorite songs so that I could sing them properly.
One of the many times I spent the day at the library printing lyrics I stumbled across some articles about him marrying Aaliyah. I was only 13 but the idea of an older man with younger women was a thing of a norm for me considering my step-father was nearly 30 years older than my mom. I didn’t think twice of it. I didn’t even blink when I read lyrics from his songs that suggested he was into younger girls. And since no one else around me seemed to have a problem with it, I figured it would be in my best interest to follow suit.
I didn’t know. But you did. You knew that he took this child and he took her innocence. And you still supported him. Coming of age and finally being able to understand the situation enough to digest that it was wrong and hearing women make comments about her being a "fast ass little girl" who probably ran away from home to marry this grown man because she wanted to be grown and be a singer. I heard women say that obviously her parents didn’t care and were cool with it so why should we be mad. She wanted it, right? You guys still move your body like a snake, you guys still played ignition, you guys still played "I Believe I Can Fly” at every kindergarten, elementary and middle school graduation.
I didn’t know any better, but you did...
You knew about Tiffany Hawkins who sued him in 1996 For forcing her and other teenage girls in her choir class and neighborhood to engage in group sex with him. Even if you didn’t know initially, her lawsuit (originally filed in 1996) was re-visited at the very beginning of his trial and you still called that girl a liar. 'Fast ass little girl wanting to be grown” is what most of you called her.
You knew it was wrong when you sat down and watched him have sex and pee on underaged girls and lied about it in court. You knew it was true because it wasn’t the first or second time that he had been caught messing with young girls. Not only did you watch it but you watched it repeatedly because you were trying to see if that was really him. You watched him do it. And yet you still sat there during his trial and tried to say that it looked like Avant. You said that wasn't him, it was his brother. You literally sat there and watched a grown man, take out his penis and urinate on a teenage child and you made your mind up that this was okay. You don’t even want to be pissed on.
You still worked overtime so that you could purchase tickets to his 2004 Best of Both Worlds Tour with Jay Z. Yes, I remember. Even when he adopted his signature stage name, The Pied Piper, you turned the other way pretending that the implications of what it could mean and the disturbing timing in which he adopted it was just a "creepy coincidence" because surely he wouldn't be so cocky as to dangle what he had done in the faces of millions like it was a piece of meat on bone. But he did and he has continued to do so for many more years. We showed him years ago that his "legacy" was more important than the lives he stole and the innocence lost on his part. We told him that HE was more important than the girls he hurt.
You can blame the industry and you can blame of the artists for continuing to work with him, but even if the industry and other artist continue to work with him, he would not have a career if people were not spending money in his name. The dollars does not match the outrage. Which tells me that there are a whole lot of people who are either lying about revoking their support or have just recently in the last five years begun to withdraw support. I don’t think I’ve supported him since I graduated high school. TP-2 was the last album I bought.
The only thing that helps you sleep at night is the fact that he was never found guilty for his crimes regardless of there being evidence suggesting otherwise. And deep down inside you know that this burden lies on you which is why you are so hell-bent on defending this man to your own detriment because you have invested way too much in this lie that you have told yourself. In your mind the sacrifice of the few girls that you don’t know is greater then the bruise to your ego.
And to take it a step further, I would bet on your refusal to acknowledge that you fucked up being primarily rooted in your unwillingness to admit that the same biases that you have granted R. Kelly, are the same biases that you have extended to your pedophile uncle, brother, or cousin or simply because they are your favorite.
There are thousands, millions of R. Kellys sleeping comfortably under the same roofs covering little girls throughout the community and you refuse to say a word or intervene because thats your “brother”.
Its better late than never, but it never should have got this late to begin with....
R. Kelly, like Bill Cosby, should have been canceled immediately after learning about Aaliyah but you wanted hits and music to make babies too.
You couldn’t afford to tell the truth about Bill Cosby because you were too busy trying to push his fantasy made morals onto your children because you were too afraid or too ashamed to allow them the opportunity of expressing their creativity in establishing their own life path. Because you wanted to live the Cosby life vicariously through your children. And you believed and subscribed to the teachings as Cosby force fed Black stereotypes to White America while giving Black people a pie made of shit. This isn’t solely about Bill Cosby or R. Kelly. It’s far much deeper than that. At the core, this is about what and who they represent. Representation matters, right? Bill Cosby has been drugging women since before I was born. I am currently 33 years old.
What’s most frightening is that as the generations shift it only seems to get worse. More than ever we are seeing a rise in murders and assaults on Black women with most occurring in our own homes. I literally fear for my daughters future. I don’t want her to date. i don’t want her to fall in love. I don’t want her to leave home. Kenneka Jenkins is a constant reminder that a girl is simply not safe anywhere or with anyone. Not even her friends.
Bill Cosby and R. Kelly are strong representations of how little we place value on the lives of young girls and women. They aren’t the only ones. Some of the men that we hail as great untouchables are just as guilty of similar crimes against young girls and women. Vultures. They are a reminders of just how far we have yet to come despite the illusion of "progress". To be honest, we haven't progressed much. There is an entire world of dysfunction out there that is not a part of the conversation and really aren't trying to be.
Those are going to be the ones who get us all killed. It only takes one loud mouse to give away the entire nest.