When I was on Facebook, news of R Kelly’s performance at the Soul Train Music Awards was all over my newsfeed. I ignored it because I didn’t watch the Soul Train Music Awards and I don’t listen to R Kelly however I have been aware of his sheninghans with young Black girls for decades starting with the trial where he was acquitted of having sex with a teenage girl. A fellow Black feminist tagged me in a link about R Kelly on a mainstream Black feminist blog. I was horrified by the comments I read on that thread because many of these women were blaming the little girls R Kelly raped and defended R Kelly’s actions with words such as ”don’t judge him, let God judge him” or ”people make mistakes” to justify their stance. Hence the lack of protection Black women receive in society as well as the lack of accountability for Black men’s actions that harm Black girls will be the discussed.
Here is a picture of his performance at the 2015 Soul Train Music Awards
R Kelly is a very talented man and has made music that many people in the Black American collective enjoy listening to. Many of them have even grown up on his music and identify with the messages in his music however R Kelly is also known for his predilection for preying on teenage Black girls. He was acquitted of sexual assault and rape of a fourteen year girl that he filmed himself urinating on. And he even had a controversial marriage to fifteen year old Aaliyah while he was twenty eight years old back in the 1990s yet Black America still insists on support him and his career.
Many Black people especially Black women defend R Kelly because of their liking of his music and the connections they have made to their life through his music. Others feel that by putting down R Kelly, you are ”putting down another brotha” or ”causing division”. Holding R Kelly accountable for his actions against little Black girls isn’t causing division or any of that sort, it is pointing out a wrong and trying to correct the way society and Black America sees Black girls. Worst of all, you have Black women defending R Kelly and putting down these little Black girls that he raped all in the guise of ”Black unity”.
Why do some Black women defend a child predator like R Kelly?
Many Black women are male(Black male) identified and believe that by throwing other Black women, they will gain favor from Black men. Many of these women have also been sexually assaulted or raped by men in their families or men that they know and defend him because they suffer from amnesia and Stockholm Syndrome. And others feel that Black girls are ”fast” and were ”asking for it” due to their internalized misogyny and disdain of Black girls.
Many of these women also believe that by standing by the Black man regardless of his indiscretions, they will gain favor and respect from them. So far, Black women’s pandering to Black men hasn’t gained any favor in the eyes of the Black man. In fact, Black men has gone out of his way to distance himself from Black women and anything to do with Blackness.
Here is a heartbreaking post from a Black woman who experienced sexual abuse as a child and how her family members covered for her abuser in the guise of Black unity and love. In fact, there was a statistic that said that 60% of Black girls are sexually assaulted by their eighteenth birthday. This has been an open secret in the Black collective for decades. Many young, Black girls have been raped or sexually abused by men close to them or their families but they never reported these happenings to the police because they feared being and ousted by their family. The reason why they fear being ousted by their family is because they don’t want to be seen as ”bringing another brotha down” or a traitor to their race. Faux racial solidarity has really played a role in Black women’s disenfranchisement while protecting the Black man at all costs.
Reading this post makes me realize that some Black women are the biggest gatekeepers of patriarchy in Black America and it makes me sad.
What does this have to do with how Black girls and women are viewed in society and in their own communities?
Black women are seen and viewed as disposable, incubators to breed more Black children. The stereotypes of Black women as welfare queens, single mothers with multiple children outside of wedlock or oversexualized Jezebels has been mainstream for years. There are people who actually believe such stereotypes and treat Black women accordingly. Worst of all, Black collective doesn’t protect or value Black women enough to protect them from predatory men who want to use them sexually and breed Black babies with them. Hence many people purposely target and prey on Black women because they know that due to lack of protection, they will get away with such crimes.
What can we do to stop sexual predators from targeting Black girls?
First of all, I believe that Black women especially Black mothers must uncondition any misogyny that they have internalized from the media, subliminal messages in music and environment that tells them that they are less than women of other ethnicities. Once Black women uncondition themselves and starting loving themselves then they would see the value in protecting Black girls. Second of all, I believe that Black mothers shouldn’t bring any boyfriends or significant others around their children especially not their daughters. Keeping your significant others away from your daughters lowers the likelihood of him preying on her but it isn’t a given though. Third of all, Black women should prioritize their daughters and treat them as girls not mules, teach them ways to survive in the world and defend themselves. Way too many Black mothers work their daughters to death and not teach them anything about surviving out in the world. Most of all, Black mothers should stop financially supporting, enabling and promoting child predators whether the person is famous or not. We need to show through our actions and deeds that we care about young, Black girls and that we are committed in protecting their livelihood in an anti Black, patriarchal society.
Therefore, it is important to hold child predators like R Kelly accountable for their actions because men like this have been targeting Black girls for decades. And it is time to stop pandering to the needs of these men and protect young, Black girls instead.