I think the R. Kelly themed episode of The Boondocks surmised the situation perfectly. Robert Kelly could do everything morally wrong, and people would sweep it aside in the name of his artistry and music. He literally nicknamed himself the ‘Pied Piper’ of R&B. You do remember the folklore of the Pied Piper, right? A musical man luring children out of their beds at night & disappearing with them? Not so innocent now, is it?
We know that R. Kelly had married a then 15-year-old singer when he was well over the age, but it was met with a mild case of “well, where were HER parents?” Absolving him of the majority of blame because he couldn’t have married her if her parents were watching her. Essentially, there was nothing to see about a 30 something year old man marrying a 15-year-old, or that he had penned her hauntingly titled album called “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number,” in which he is lurking in the background cover art.
Yet many still played his music, and it was just “one of those things” that was more or less swept under the carpet. Then when he was in court because of that infamous video in which he urinated on another under aged girl, people were appalled, but once again, he still has a career.
R. Kelly never hid how nasty he is, and he’s still thriving. His music is still being played, and people are still attending his shows. His artistry is tainted in the innocence of young women. The dangerous precedent is that women and young girls physical and mental well-being mean nothing if the predator that’s pursuing them is some sort of celebrity. We tell these women in effect, that they should ultimately take one for the team, though we may never speak those words. Actions speak loud enough.
I noticed that droves of men and most alarmingly women, were bending over backwards with a lot of “Y’all just trying to keep a talented brother down!” As a community, there are no favors being done by sweeping this matter under the rug in the name of already having bad stigmas attached to the community. You’re doing these visible predators a favor when you cover for them, while villainizing the suffering of the victims.
“But you all love dating older men!” That argument in itself is flawed. Some of it stems from the long stood, ingrained notion that women need a guiding figure in their life and that an older male counterpart could be the one to pick up that rein. Factor in the role male figures did or didn’t play in a young woman’s life and you’ve got a heady mixing pot in which one can easily be exploited for vulnerability.
Then there’s the economic aspect of dealing with someone already accomplished. Which opens up another avenue for grooming, especially in celebrity situations, where the predator can corner his victim with expensive gifts and basically buy silence from the family. Recently, I became aware of the fact that R. Kelly was known to prowl his old high school, using his celebrity to access on young, impressionable girls and their families. By promising to mentor these girls with their music, he wove a net in which to keep these people who held him in high regard. He used this to his advantage. Recent news articles discussing the sex cult say that he had been recruiting girls into it for years for his pleasure.
Written by Aubri Elle