I never liked R. Kelly. I was not there for Public Announcement. I wasn’t a fan of 12Play. I didn’t believe his 2-week stint that he promised to go “clean and do gospel”, and I was not surprised that the year after “I Believe I Can Fly” he sang chorus, “I’m fucking you tonight”. The line, “My mind is telling me, ‘No’, but my body is telling me, ‘Yes’”, always rubbed me the wrong way. It sounded a little rapey, and that was before I had any inkling of rape culture. I was ankh-right; I was part of the problem, yet I STILL knew there was something wrong with a little “Bump n’ Grind” in this situation. While others laughed at the “Trapped in the Closet” series, I watched and disliked every tired trope he doled out in the name of “artistic expression”. And that is all just what he did in the studio! I didn’t understand why people signed off on his inappropriate relationship with Aaliyah, the pee video, the botched trial, and now this report of a “sex cult” where he imprisoned young women who he promised guidance.
I know that some will allege that this new news about R. Kelly is just a conspiracy to “take down another prominent black man”. Right, perhaps he and Chris Brown tried to buy NBC with Bill Cosby. There is more than enough evidence to take R. Kelly down, some that he produced himself, if we cared about victims of sexual assault enough. Caping for people who don’t give a damn about anyone but themselves doesn’t help anything. The Struggle will be better off without them. If you’re defending or ignoring R. Kelly’s actions because you just REALLY like his music, you are the worst. This means that your personal entertainment is more important to you than his victims’ lives. The entertainment industry is banking on that, and you are buying into it. Just admit that you are as soulless as them, and move one.
While reading about R. Kelly’s latest news, I also am reading about Justine Damond, who was killed by Minneapolis police after SHE called 911 about a disturbance. She was an Australian expat who was going to be married in August. She was so excited about it that she had already gone by her husband-to-be’s family name. Exactly what potential threat does an unarmed yoga instructor in a robe pose that she needed to be lethally dispatched at point blank range? People are up in arms about this. They are incensed that this could happen…in the same city that ju8st acquitted Philando Castile’s killer and gave him $48,500 to resign from the police force. Since we’re just hearing about Damond’s case, there is no telling whether a jury will convict the officer who shot her, and there is no body or dash camera footage to submit as evidence. Judging by the uproar so far, from all angles, it seems that paid administrative leave will turn to unpaid jail time.
This kind of hints at what I’ve been thinking for years: America is not going to give a damn until a pretty white woman is involved. It looks like it took pretty white woman for people to take police practices and violence seriously. I am not surprised. When I think about people who have done things with impunity, they hadn’t done what they did to any pretty white women. Chris Brown not only served laughable time for abusing Rihanna, but also his industry welcomed him back with open arms, and he has had subsequent success, and he hasn’t changed at all. The vitriol he spits at women online is disgusting, and the case in which he threatened death on Karreuche Tran so much that she filed for a permanent restraining order shows how little he has grown as a person. Just looking at missing persons case, black people make up nearly 33% of the cases, even though we are only 13% of the population. Last year, dozens of girls of color went missing in the Mid-Atlantic, but there was barely a line in the news about it until months later. The second a pretty white woman goes missing for 6 hours, the FBI is called in. So is this all proof that had R. Kelly peed on a pretty white girl, he’d be in jail right now, and unable to start a sex cult/prison?
NOOOOPE. America doesn’t give a damn about women at all. Brock Turner is white, and he assaulted a pretty white woman, and after serving 3 months, 1.8% of the potential jail time he could have served, he is out free. Nate Parker, a black man, “allegedly” assaulted a white woman in college, was acquitted, and he still managed to carve out a pretty successful acting and directing career for himself. I haven’t heard much from him this year, but I doubt we’ve heard the last of him. Sadly, she took her own life. Nearly around the time that Brock turner was about to leave jail, David Becker was given probation for assaulting two women. Nicholas Fifield forced himself on a mentally handicapped woman, but the DA thought that prison wouldn’t do him any good. A judge gave a man who raped his 12-year old daughter a suspended sentence and allowed him to serve the 60 days of jail time over the course of 6 months. So it was like weekend camp for him. If you think this is just a case of some judges gone misogyny wild, remember that Eminem made a multiplatinum career out of joyfully discussing maiming, raping, and killing everyone from random pop stars he just doesn’t like to his own ex-wife, the mother of his daughter. Bill Cosby is still roaming free, and a good chunk of his accusers are white. It IS an odd coincidence that he got a very ambiguous trial outcome, and at least for me, Andrea Constand is ethnically ambiguous. However, not giving a damn about women is ubiquitous in this country. We talk a good game about caring, but we really don’t give a damn.
I realize it was common for black men to be lynched for so much as looking at white women. Sometimes the white woman in question never existed. This is definitely not the case here, and don’t think that this is proof that that America holds such an affinity to white women as to put them on a pedestal and protect them like they are Faberge eggs and black men are jewel-hungry foxes. America only uses white women to push a narrative that black men are craven monsters. We’ve been fridging white women since before Gail Simone coined the term “Women in Refrigerators”. Judging by the lack of rape convictions, the rollbacks in women's health care funding, and who is running the country, I don't think that sad truth will slow down in at least the next 4 years.