I choose to define myself rather than embrace any of the prefabricated labels or nomenclatures that may be applied.
And I define myself as a rationalist, which means that I give truth priority over ideology, regardless of whose ox it gores.
Needless to say while the recent conviction of R. Kelly brought some satisfaction that justice was served to his accusers, of whom the majority were mostly Black women, it also ushered in once again a serious issue regarding credibility.
Once hailed among the biggest names in popular music, the singer was convicted of racketeering and sex trafficking charges, in a decade long scheme that involved recruiting of women and underage girls for sex.
In conjunction with employees and members of his entourage , the singer preyed upon women and girls who attended his concerts so that the victims could be available to engage in illegal sexual activity with him at a moment’s notice.
In July 1994, Kelly secretly married now-deceased singer Aliyah in Chicago.
However, while the marriage certificate lists the bride as being 18 years of age, in actuality she was 15, and the bridegroom 27.
One of his former tour managers testified that Kelly bribed a government employee to get a fake identification for Aaliyah so the wedding could go forward because he feared that she was pregnant, and he could be charged with statutory rape.
Women have claimed that the abuses at the singer’s hand began as early as the start of the 1990’s .
Even as cases of high-profile men like actor Morgan Freeman, T. V broadcaster Matt Lauer and Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein put the spotlight on the accusations of white women, Black women strangely enough said they felt left out of the conversation.
The case in question is certainly not one of an innocent Black man being “framed” or “set up” by lying white women. Nor is he among the thousands of Black men that have been wrongfully accused, incarcerated or even killed by a racist system and lies perpetuated against young males like Emmett Till.
Instead he capitalized off the sympathies of these past atrocities.
Nevertheless, in light of the ongoing frequency of sexual abuse allegations the guilty verdict also prompts another question: why did it take three decades for justice to be served?
One shudders in disbelief at what one of our own was doing, laboring under the misapprehension that such lewdness only came from that behaviour of such magnitude is reserved for representatives of the mainstream culture with depraved mentality.
No one believed that three women — Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight — could be held captive in a Cleveland home for almost a decade, but it was indeed true until their neighbor Charles Ramsay rescued them in 2013.
Their abductor, Ariel Castro, later committed suicide.
From the testimonies given in court it is apparent that the singer is a pedophile, a sex trafficker, mastermind and misogynist who is as odious as the uncle at the family reunion whom the older women in the family warn the younger women not to be around and to avoid at all costs. “Don’t give him a hug when he calls you over.” “Don’t let him tickle you,” and “Don’t you dare sit on his lap!”
According to the largest non-profit anti-sexual assault organization, in the United States– Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), only one in three women report rape and sexual abuse.
Unfortunately, many Black girls fall through the cracks.
These girls are secretly fondled by uncles, groped by security guards, or hemmed up by their pastors.
They are told to keep quiet. And they obey because often their feelings of guilt overshadow their pain.
The key to the singer’s conviction may lie in the 2019 documentary Surviving R Kelly. “Woman after woman faced the camera to tell her harrowing story.
And suddenly, the walls surrounding the superstar began to tumble down, as a nation of disgusted viewers turned on him, using the hashtag #MuteRKelly — which had originated in 2017 but now found a whole new life.
The documentary also investigated his relationship and marriage to Aaliyah, who was a mere teenager at the time.
The singer faces sentencing next year. Besides the collective sigh that justice has finally been done , the sincere yet lingering hope is that it would not take sex trafficking charges levied against a celebrity to believe black women.
But where or on whom do we lay the blame? On journalism that failed to report what they knew from early on?
The justice system, that tried him on charges of child pornography– a 26 minute, 39 second videotape shows the singer having sex with a 14-year-old, and then urinating in her mouth.
Indictment followed for making child pornography but he was never tried for statutory rape. The entertainment industry failed, and also fans who were aware of the alleged mistreatment of women.
The singer who rose from rags to riches now finds himself all alone in the ditches.
While he has given us music that will last for generations – he has caused hurt and pain that will undoubtedly scar the victims and their families for generations to come.
Aleuta continua——- The struggle continues.