Today I asked you guys what the most triggering thing was for you regarding the Surviving R Kelly doc-series. I asked this because there were so many things that left me feeling empty and stripped of my armor, moments that brought be back to a really sad place, and moments that left me scared. I felt more in this six episode series than I have allowed myself to feel in such a long time regarding this topic.
Rape is in my story, but so is manipulation and being controlled by something you don’t think you will ever overcome. Taking a step back from all of the words and faces, what troubled me the most was how trapped he made those girls feel, and the reality of the fact that there are still girls trapped. I was alarmed by his tactics, and by each and every act that enabled him to sustain this lifestyle. From start to finish he blatantly disrespected women and girls - but was still allowed to show his face in any setting and was still considered to be one of the best musically? I was disgusted that I knew nearly nothing that I saw in the series. I had no idea there was evidence of him marrying a 14 year old at the age of 24, I had no idea he was surrounded by so many people who knew what he was doing, I had no idea of the amount of women he had actually ruined.
For those of us who knew of his history, and followed along throughout his career I am ashamed. The fact that I can close my eyes and look back on memories of family gatherings where we blared his songs and danced in unison as if he was some kind of black prodigy sickens me. He should have been cancelled immediately following his first sex scandal with the little girl and the sex tape in 1990. He should have been muted and taken off stages the minute his laundry was aired the first time; it is because of our silence and negligence that girls are still under him to this day.
I think as a culture we should ban people like this from influencing in any way. We should take note of how our turning the other cheek allowed more of the nonsense to happen, and we should walk in the fact that we will not allow anything like this to happen or flourish in the future. Not only should we not support artists who don’t respect us, but we should allow it in our communities either. We have to start somewhere.
So for those of you who haven’t yet muted R Kelly, please do so.