Silent Survivors

It’s always close to home. It’s always someone you know and trust. Being sexually assaulted at a young age (or at any age) comes in the most deceitful package of comfort, humor and false security. The predator’s words are always on point. They tell you what you want to hear, what you didn’t realize felt good to hear…and then they strike, leaving a scar that is difficult to heal. This was the picture that was pretty much painted in Lifetime’s premier of Surviving R. Kelly, which aired on January 3rd. I’ve heard and seen the R. Kelly stories over and over again through the years, yet I chose to watch this documentary out of curiosity. Would they tell me something I didn’t know before, would it change my thoughts towards the situation? Well, yes and no, to both questions. Please keep reading! Women who claim to be victims of the R&B crooner’s alleged predatory behavior told their stories one by one; backup singers, dancers, artists and aspiring artists all recalled horrific stories of abuse, assault and pretty much torture. The story of one of the more popular victims, late singer Aaliyah, was retold during the documentary. I didn’t know she was actually twelve when she met the singer, which made her segment even more disturbing to me.

The So-Called Culture – Pedophilia Reigns

This whole hip-hop culture has gotten on my nerves for several years now. There’s no real quality in the music and artists have crapped on women in their songs for years. This R. Kelly situation just added to that sick mix  of misogyny and low-key pedophilia. I’ll admit – I overlooked the Aaliyah situation after it died down and he came out with “I Believe I Can Fly.” It seemed (and I’m using this word very strongly) that he had gotten the help he desperately needed and was turning a new page because there were no new reports of him preying on little girls…and then the tape dropped. But I have to step back for a minute and just look at the gross music industry overall. R. Kelly is NOT the first artist to be linked to pedophilia. Many legendary artists have been linked as well and nothing much came of those rumors and confirmed facts. And because I have petty tendencies, I’m listing some of the artists (some of them are probably your faves – you can come for me all you want) that are in a bad light because of the choices they seem to make or the references they make in their music.
  • Drake: He recently made news about kissing and fondling a 17-year-old despite already knowing her age.
  • Jeremy Lewis: Rock-n-Roll singer who married his cousin who was only 13-years-old at the time.
  • Elvis Presley: Known for marrying his now widowed wife, Priscilla, who he met when he was in the military stationed overseas. If the math adds up correctly, she was only 14 when they married.
  • Bell Biv DeVoe: That one line in their smash hit, “Do Me,” where they reference hooking up with an adolescent who is backstage at one of their shows. I have to say that I have been a HUGE New Edition fan for most of my life, so it sucks to write this, but truth is truth. In fact, Bell Biv DeVoe member Ricky Bell spoke about the line, which was originally written by Busta Rhymes, according to him. Check out the video here.
  • The Beatles: Had a hit song titled, “I Saw Her Standing There,” where they sing about approaching a girl who is only 17-years-old. Oh, and by the way, the song was originally titled, Seventeen. Enough said.

The Enablers

Between the parents of some of the victims, people in the entourage and R. Kelly’s ex-wife Andrea, I don’t know where to start. Ok, I’ll start with the parents, who are around the same age as me or older. Our generation saw the news of the illegal marriage to Aaliyah when it first broke out. We saw the copy of the marriage license (shout out to the late Vibe magazine), we saw the ungodly sex-tape that was circulated in all four corners of the earth and finally, we heard the endless rumors of Robert hanging around high schools, the malls and McDonalds to pick up teenage girls. Why on earth would you think it would be okay to have your young daughter be mentored by him for her singer career? Were you that pressed to have her blow up in the name of money and success? Because it is impossible to ignore the information that floated around for a full decade before you went to his concerts and connected him to her. One of them said, “Oh we thought it was just rumors.” The hell! Maybe it’s the research dork in me but I would’ve gone through his background with a fine-toothed comb and made my decision from there. Pedophile rumors aren’t something you just shrug your shoulders at. Then there are the former assistants/staff members who pretty much co-signed on anything he did – even if it meant helping to forge a marriage license of a 15-year-old to a near thirty-year-old man. Wow! They saw what he was doing to them in the studios to these girls and everything. Not once did they report him or turn him in. Is money that powerful that you easily become someone’s ‘yes’ person? I guess so! As for Andrea Kelly, she just confirmed what I thought about her all along. She’s just another enabler trying to hide behind the guise of being one of Kelly’s abuse victims. Yes, I believe he physically and emotionally abused her at some point, but since she left the marriage she has defended him on several occasions per her own social media accounts and just never seemed to care about the other victims until now. I’m not buying it, boo. A lot of people, particularly hard-core fans, have come to the defense of Robert, and that’s fine. The thing is, has he made that step to get help? Because if not, then he deserves what’s coming to him. His predatory behavior has been in motion for years, unchecked and ignored. Now, parents and victims have to relive the horror they endured by participating in a documentary that goes through the disturbing incidents that led up to each of them being victimized – in the midst of their inner battles of shame and fear. Not to mention the backlash from those who refuse to believe them, refuse to believe that they as young girls were violated by one who takes pride in calling himself, the Pied Piper.

Since the documentary aired

Folks have been jumping ship, namely his Publicist, lawyer and assistant. As of the date of this published post, Robert is officially under investigation by Fulton County in Georgia. Not to be pessimistic, but we’ll see how far that goes… I take my hat off to everyone who was brave enough to participate in this documentary, because it is a dark, messy and ugly situation to touch. Most importantly, I extend my heart to the victims who were truly affected by his destructive actions. My heart also goes out to his children, who are caught in the crossfires of all of this back and forth.

Get Help

Like I said, Robert needs help. And if he does get the help, the one assisting him should ask, “what happened to you” instead of “what’s wrong with you.” I usually don’t comment on “trending” topics, but I took the time out to comment on this documentary because it highlights the effects of sexual and emotional abuse. I’ve written about it in my book and I make sure to raise awareness on it everywhere I go. Regardless of mine or anyone else’s opinion. It ain’t looking so good for Kellz.