I'm one of those people who can admit I've been very conflicted about the artist that is R. Kelly. He's made a lot of music that I've enjoyed over the years, but every time I listen to a song of his I just can't get past this nagging feeling that somehow I'm supporting a predator.
I can remember quite vividly when whispers started about how R. Kelly had married a very underage Aaliyah and that was the reason they were no longer working together, but because I was young at the time I was able to just disregard the entire thing and pretend it never happened. But then the videotape happened...
I was in college when the video of R. Kelly allegedly having sexual relations with a 14 year old girl broke everywhere. It was the thing that people just couldn't stopped talking about. I can even remember having discussions about it during class. It was amazing how many black women, including myself, were willing to defend Kelly. "That girl didn't look 14," some would say, or "Where the hell did a 14 year old learn moves like that," other's would say. The conversation always managed to go back to the shaming of the alleged victim because it had to be something that she did in order to get R. Kelly to succumb to her. Besides, how was he supposed to know she was only 14? Oh believe me, youth can make you surmise some pretty stupid things especially when you are not privy to all the facts.
Somehow because R. Kelly made good music, it made him above reproach. Here you had a man that women literally threw themselves at so why would he have the need to rape anybody? That is what a rational person's brain would think, but the things R. Kelly has been accused of doing are far from rational.
I found myself reading an article over at the Village Voice that completely woke me up to what my defense of Kelly had done to his alleged victims. Never at any point when I was defending him did I ever think of the victims. It just never dawned on me to think of them. I, like so many other people, felt that R. Kelly was the victim in the scenario.
So I implore you to read this article at the Village Voice and come back and let me know whether or not you're still a fan of R. Kelly.
"The saddest fact I've learned is nobody matters less to our society than young black women. Nobody."