Updated: Jan 8, 2019
Lifetime premiered its three-part miniseries, Surviving R. Kelly, which detailed the lives of the singer's victims, who were black females, some of which were minors. There had been rumors about R. Kelly having relationships with young women. The series confirmed that he and singer Aaliyah were secretly married, illegally with Aaliyah only being fifteen and Kelly being twenty-seven. There were so many levels to Kelly’s sickness that went unchecked all these years. Keeping it real, we as a community failed those girls who became victims because we failed to check and address R. Kelly by putting our interests, like the music that we’ve grown to love and don’t want to lose, first. Black families by the majority have swept issues of molestation under the rug historically. The documentary series has not only forced us to sit down and listen but now start an open dialogue to a much larger issue that we seemed to ignore.
Call A Spade A Spade
Listen, I don’t claim to be a clinical psychiatrist, but I’ve had enough experience to know that hurt people, hurt people. If I were a gambling man, I would’ve bet that R. Kelly was either touched by a man or woman growing up, so I wasn’t as surprised by it when it was mentioned in the series. I know you’ve heard the statement, "what goes on in this house stays in this house", at some point growing up. The statement that a mother or father would say when children are exposed to any serious issue within the household whether it be verbal or physical abuse, drugs or alcohol abuse and yes even molestation...you better not tell anyone what you think you saw. When people hear the term post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, they usually equate it to those who served in the military or the events that happened overseas to service members that they have trouble dealing with. The truth is, we are all susceptible to PTSD struggling from issues right here in America, including in our own homes. Whether it’s out of shame or protection of the perpetrator; ignoring the problem can leave a child confused or forced to come up with their way to cope. We also need to get rid of the negative stigma or fear of therapy to heal properly. Unfortunately for Kelly, his abuse led him down a dark path of destruction.
What Do You Like? Whatever It Is You Like...
The longer I watched the series, the easier it was to identify R. Kelly’s ‘Yes Men’ and enablers. There was no way this man could’ve done, let alone gotten away with half of the things he was accused of. Listen, surrounding yourself with ‘yes men’ is deceitful and very dangerous. All ‘yes men’ seem to have your best interest telling you all the things you want to hear, but they truly only have their own best interest and will do whatever they can to fulfill theirs.
Why Now Though?
So many people are just naturally skeptical or plan naive. I’ve seen so many comments that ask why now? I’m like, here’s this big ass picture of evidence being painted in front of you, and your thought is to ask why now? Well, why not now? Hypothetically speaking, your loved one has an accident and can no longer walk. Then one day miraculously, they can walk again. Would your reaction be to focus on all the other time they could've spent walking? When people want to pursue goals, change or even justice, they’ll continue for however long it takes. So asking the question “why now” minimizes the courage it took the victims to speak up and negates everything that the victims been through.
We Must Protect The Black Woman
It was sad to see so many young girls and women that were failed to be protected. As a man, protecting our black women is an honor, and there is so much pride in that. Upon watching the series, it proved that the males chose to protect another full grown male by neglecting the rescue of the child. They are no less guilty than R. Kelly. Imagine seeing a man and a little girl in danger, a real man is going to opt to choose to save the girl first, and if the man that’s endangered is a real man, he’d prefer it that way. We can’t forget where we all came from, black women, we must protect her.
Are You Still Listening? - Many people ask me if I’ll still listen to R. Kelly’s music because his catalog is fire. In high school, I’d sit on the phone talking to girls all night with The Chocolate Factory playing in the background to set the mood and serve as a filler for the rare awkward silence. I tried listening to Honey Love, but the whole vibe was off. Music is all about a feeling, an I could feel those lyrics were meant for a child.
As a father to a beautiful little girl, I immediately went to my daughter and looked her in her eyes and told her how beautiful she was. I told her how smart she was, she's very smart by the way. Then I told her how much I love her. I tell her this every day, but there was much more value and emphasis this time around. Our black women must know, their value and worth—and most importantly that they are protected.
Check out the latest conversation we had on Surviving R. Kelly as well: