To be clear, Robert “Ar-Ruh” Kelly has BEEN trash to me, ever since that bootlegged sex tape that showed him peeing on a child surfaced in the early 2000s.
Back then, ghosting Ar-Ruh took some getting used to because for my generation, Generation X, Kelly was THAT dude as far as R&B was concerned in the 90s and early 2000s.
Indeed, as one who has always been known to make GREAT Slow Jam/Quiet Storm tapes, cd’s and playlists, I realized that my 90s era collections would be forever devoid of not only Ar-Ruh’s hits, but those he produced for Aaliyah, Changing Faces, Michael Jackson, and everybody else.
I am not alone; most of my friends and family members have been on Team #MuteRKelly ever since that sex tape was released. But after watching the documentary at rapt attention, and after participating in sometimes heated debates about the subject on social media, it is clear that the entertainer STILL has millions of fans who cape for him like he is their blood kin folks.
A few thoughts on this subject:
1. “Only God can judge Kelly.”
For y’all believers, only God can judge one’s soul, but for believers and atheists alike, sin and crime are not always one and the same. Meaning, the issue with R. Kelly isn’t about fornication or adultery, rather, the issue is that he is a serial child molester whose money and influence have bought off victims and their families for decades. God may judge the sin, but we can only hope that in time, a jury of 12 can judge a litany of crimes by this creepy cretin;
2. I remain at a loss as to how radio stations and DJs still regularly blast Ar-Ruh’s music despite his being a known degenerate and pedophile. One of the defenses I keep reading is “I don’t like the man, but I like his art.” Yeah, as a Latin scholar in my day I get the whole “Ars Gratia Artis”–Art for Art’s sake, bit. But I reject it when it comes to Ar-ruh because Billboard has reported a spike in sales of his hits since the documentary aired. To that end, #MuteRKelly is more than symbolic because if successful, it can impact his financial bottom line and perhaps hinder his ability to buy silence and influence among even law enforcement;
3. How was it that Aaliyah’s mother and father allowed this cretin to molest and even marry their daughter is beyond me. I know that Momma Haughton says that the documentary is a lie, but there are too many credible eyewitnesses on the series who establish that Kelly was molesting Aaliyah on tour–when she was under 15–and that her parents were somewhere counting money instead of protecting their baby girl;
4. I still remain amazed that after all of these years and after all of these victims, that Ar-ruh still has not had his ass kicked by some mad dad, uncle, brother, cousin. He clearly, and quite sickly, has picked the right victims because had it been a child or relative of mine, I would be writing my blogs straight from the State penitentiary. At some point, Ar-Ruh is gonna run up on an old-fashioned beat down, none to dissimilar from Caine beating Allena’s cousin for talking all reckless in the classic 1993 film”Menace II Society.”
5. I am beyond disappointed in the number of Black men who still try to act like #MeToo is a farce, and that sexual molestation and assault in the Black community should be overlooked. Their dumb logic is that if White men like Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, Bill Clinton, Hugh Hefner, and the like can be accused of sexual assault and never serve any time, then Black men like Bill Cosby and R. Kelly deserve passes, too. What’s worse is that many of these idiots not only think that their thoughts along this line are enlightened, but many are fathers to daughters. Let that marinate for a second.
I don’t know about your childhood, but in the Hobbs house growing up, on the couple-few occasions that I got into some trouble at school and came home talkin’ ’bout “but so and so did it too,” the whoopin’ was that much more severe for my being a dumb follower and not a leader. So I guess some of these Black men didn’t get any real discipline in their homes to come to such trifling conclusions about such very serious issues in our community.
4. To show you how naive I used to be, in 1985, when I saw “The Color Purple” in 8th grade, I was floored by the idea that a Black father or step-father could molest and produce children with his own child. I had been led to believe that such perversions were stuff that “they” did–not Black folks.
Well, time and legal career experience have taught me otherwise, and I know countless men and women of color who have been sexually abused in their lifetimes–many by family members or preachers.
But because many Black folks prefer to focus on race and racism far more than they do Black toxic masculinity, Black toxic patriarchy, and Black sexual violence in music and film, the issue is largely swept under the rug. Such is one reason why the R. Kelly fan page on Facebook still has millions of followers–many of them being Black men.
5. While I understand the pathos behind Black men who cape for Ar-Ruh, including the fact that many were molested themselves and are still coping with that issue and/or their own sexual perversions, demons or sexual preferences, I am not as certain about many of the Black women who are doing the same. I am sure some Sister Ar-Ruh fans, too, are grappling with their own perversions, demons and sexual preferences. But it is odd; I was blessed to be raised by a mother and women in the Black community who often would give their last–even their lives if it came to that–to protect children. So, that I see many Sisters on social media writing “that little fast-tailed girl got what she wanted”–and worse–simply defies all reason from my vantage point.
In conclusion, “Surviving R. Kelly” provided some new details about Ar-Ruh’s prior criminal acts, but for the most part, it reiterated information that many of us already were reasonably aware of about his perverted predilections.
But to be clear, it’s not about whether folks knew that R. Kelly was an old “Chester the Molester” 10, 15 or even 25 years ago when Aaliyah, then 15, burst onto the scene under his watch. No, the purpose of this documentary was to remind us all that sexual abuse is real and remains relevant, so that we can endeavor to prevent as many of these unfortunate occurrences as we possibly can in our homes, in our schools and in our Black churches.
Ergo, asking “why watch what you already know” is akin to asking why anyone would read a book or watch a movie or documentary about anything involving a historical subject. We study history in hopes of not repeating past mistakes. This documentary is important because it allows us to confront how criminals like Ar-Ruh, and many others, both famous and unknown, commit rape–only to have it swept under the rug in our communities.
Such is why “Surviving R. Kelly” should be must-see TV in households and schools across America, to remind everyone that there are “pied pipers” seeking to molest and harm those who have no one to defend them.
Lest we forget…