Guest Editorial: Kelly forced out of the closet 

Recently in New York, R. Kelly the renowned R&B singer, was found guilty on all charges of racketeering and sex trafficking during a highly anticipated trial. 

According to an online CBS News article written by Zoe Christen Jones, Kelly was accused by multiple witnesses of “targeting, grooming and exploiting young women and men for his own sexual gratification and running a ‘sex cult’ by trafficking people across state lines.” 

He also “allegedly bribed a government worker to help him marry late R&B singer Aaliyah when she was 15 years old.” 

According to the same source, 50 witnesses provided testimony, with only five testifying for the defense. Kelly could end up serving serious time, but a minimum of 10 years is mandatory, and he could possibly be sentenced to life in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for May 4, 2022. He is also scheduled to face additional charges in other states. 

After the verdict, adoring fans were outside the courthouse playing his music. 

This is not the first time Kelly has faced judgment; he had to stand trial years ago when it was widely held that he urinated on a 14-year-old girl. He beat that case. Unfortunately, that might be why he was emboldened to continue his previous behavior, which has now been brought “out of the closet.” This is in reference to one of his most popular songs, “Trapped in the Closet.” 

A lot of African Americans, both men AND women, feel that Kelly is getting a bad rap. Bill Cosby, recently released from prison for his own alleged inappropriate behavior toward women, chimed in that he felt Kelly was “railroaded.” The truth is that most of the people who feel that Kelly should not serve time were not present at the trial, so they are operating from the standpoint of uninformed opinion. 

It is very strange; those who support Kelly use all sorts of excuses for why he should go free or why those around him, including parents and staff, should also face trials and imprisonment. They blame the fact that he was molested by a family member as a youth and say that he did not get enough help. 

Some also point to his alleged illiteracy. And many, MANY people say that no matter what he did, they will continue to “bump his music.” This is tacit acceptance of his behavior and subtle defiance in the face of the verdict. 

What almost all of Kelly’s advocates fail to realize is the scope of his transgressions. People cheekily say that the parents should serve time because they sold their children to Kelly and became disgruntled when the money ran out. They also insist that the victims were willing participants, though it’s not clear how a teenager can legally make those decisions. 

Kelly’s supporters need to understand that his charges were not just the act of having sex with minors; it was far more sinister than that. Kelly imprisoned people; he controlled their day-to-day lives; he is guilty of kidnapping. 

Victims could not go to the toilet without his permission; he has been accused of beating them, denying them food, and they were forced to perform sexual acts. Stories have surfaced that the girls had to lower their eyes when around other men. Basically, the description that surfaces brings to mind a den of sex slaves. 

Even though these issues have been identified, supporters still want to incarcerate his former wife, who according to her, was a victim herself. They want to incarcerate “Sparkle,” whose niece was a Kelly victim. They ignore the fact that she was one of the first to blow the whistle on Kelly when she learned about his behavior, and her singing career suffered as a result. 

They also blame Aaliyah’s parents for allowing Kelly to use her, even though it is on record that her parents had the marriage annulled when they found out about it. 

The Kelly debacle is far more than meets the eye; it reveals a very curious flaw in the behavior of the Black community in America. 

There is a reluctance to admit wrongdoing by those who act as predators on women and girls, and if there is no room for doubt, people “super deflect” by identifying every White person who has been accused of similar behavior. 

Why do many African Americans defend predators? Celebrity worship? Racial animus? Whatever the case, this is a dangerous, destructive trend, and Black women and girls will continue to suffer from active and passive predation originating in their own communities if something doesn’t change!  

(Reprinted from the Chicago Crusader)

 

 

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