Let's face it, one of the reasons we support R. Kelly is because we don't support young black girls. Back in 1993 Robert Kelly wed his underage artist Aaliyah, but fascination and contempt with the story still didn't prevent us from grinding along to songs he produced, not excluding the song, "Age Ain't Nothing but a Number," which he penned for her about their Lolita like romance. His harmonies and sex driven lyrics allowed us to suppress our knowledge of his brazenly nefarious dealings, but not only that, the fact that his violations were against black girls, made it that much easier to tune out the discord.
If we look back in time, society has always viewed black women and/or girls as hypersexualized beings, we've always been waste bins for sexual lust both by black and white men alike. If we were not bed wenches or exotic animals to be tamed, we were video hoes, thots, or baby mamas. Even while simultaneously being seen as the opposite of American beauty standards, society has still been able to close its eyes long enough to still fuck the shit out of us.
The 27 minute video of R. Kelly urinating on an underage girl was longer than the 14 minutes it took to find him not guilty. Now in all fairness, I've never seen the R. Kelly sex tape, you know, because child porn isn't really my thing. I have however, heard a plethora of people talk about it and confirm that it is the same person who sang 12 play, a really fucked up title, when you think about it. I've met R. Kelly's ex-wife Andrea Lee Kelly, and while there was only a 7 year age difference between the two of them, she definitely looks much younger than her years. Even though she may have just recently shown signs of aging, she looked almost ethereal and elfish for quite sometime. She is extremely tiny, almost as if she was a "this will do," wife to satisfy his not-so-legal proclivities.
R. Kelly who is now 50 years old, is currently dating an 19 year old. Now, I'm not here to decry May-December romances, I've been in a few myself, but a more than 30 year age difference should be at least alarming, even though completely legal. I'm much more adult in my 30s than I was at 18, and 50 is still a bit out of my price range. However, one of the first things you will hear when R. Kelly's predilections are mentioned, is how grown the little girls around him act, which I find interesting. We have someone who has a history of having sex with underage girls and writing suggestive song lyrics like, "show me some I.D. before I get real deep in," sir, whom are you fucking that you are questioning their age, mind you, the song where that lyric hails from was released when he was 27 years old, "my mind's telling me no, but my body's telling me yes," something tells me he did see something wrong, he just didn't want to reconcile that he shouldn't be doing it.
He calls himself the Pied Piper of R&B. The Pied Piper was a mythical man who would lure kids away from their homes with his music, that's the man whom he claims to be the R&B version of. There have been whispers of him for DECADES, lingering around high schools and community centers, these rumors have been heard in Chicago, Orlando and Atlanta. Not to mention, there is videotape, which most who have seen are convinced, is him preying on a child, or the two dozen or so other allegations of sexual misconduct. He is a predator. We know all of these things about him, but we consistently hear how the girls are somehow to blame. "These girls are too fast....they know what they're doing.....they are too grown." This man literally seeks out underage girls to have sex with and we have evidence of that, yet we put the onus of responsibility on the young girls.
Young black girls face several other inequities in how society treats them. When we can look at a teenage girl walking away from a police officer and then being yanked back after she tried to leave, got kneed in the back and arrested while wearing a bathing suit, or tossed out of her desk by someone twice her size and the fault, somehow, lies with them and not the adults, both figures of authority, something is clearly wrong. Just recently there was video of a police officer arresting a black teenage girl cashier whom he accused of short changing him, which her manager confirmed she did not, not before harassing her and macing her. As a young black girl growing up in a suburban white neighborhood, I was slapped by a classmate whom I had been ignoring for months because of persistent bullying. When I reported him to the assistant principal, the teacher denied seeing it, but no other students were even questioned. What did occur was the assistant principal telling my mother that I was mistaken. Yes, I was mistaken about someone smacking me across my face. My mother also informed the A.P. that this person had bullied me for years with no punishment. But you know who gets punished in school systems, black girls.
Black youth, in general, are punished more severely in the court system. According to the Guardian, almost 90% of youth tried as adults in the state of New Jersey were black or Latino, even though the amount of crime and type of crime committed by whites is virtually the same. According to eji.org, the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequity shows that black children are viewed as older than their white counterparts and black girls viewed even older than black boys.
The Georgetown study found that adults see, "black girls as older than white girls of the same age; black girls need less nurturing, protection, support, and comforting than white girls; and black girls are more independent and know more about adult topics, including sex, than white girls." When asked about the gender disparities Kimberly Williams Crenshaw, author of Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Over Policed and Unprotected, confirms this and adds that "The disparity in punishment between black girls and white girls is greater than the disparity between black and white boys." In the black community we often focus on the crises that occur to young black boys, but no one speaks up nearly as loudly for little black girls, who not only have to deal with racism, but gender bias as well.
You may not specifically agree with R. Kelly's actions but if you are still listening to his music, if you are still playing it on the radio, stepping in the name of love to him at weddings, if you are going to his concerts you are still telling this man that his actions aren't all that bad. You are still putting money in his pockets that aides in the ubiquity of his unscrupulous behavior.
As black people, we often, rightly complain about police brutality, especially when it's been filmed, but we ignore a child molester in our community who was also filmed, simply because we made our children to some of his hits.
Our society consistently sees young black girls as hypersexualized and responsible for being preyed upon. Blacks girls are not allowed to be seen as full and smart, and happy, and proud, however, they are allowed to be fast, and slutty, and grown and too much. Handsy uncles get to grope little black girls without reproach, without no longer being invited to family functions, without prosecution. Black girls don't get amber alerts, they don't get police investigations or news reports at nearly the same rate as their white counterparts. Black girls don't get justice. No one protects little black girls, including their own black families.
"Live your best life"