What Surviving R.Kelly tells me about how Society perceives Black Women

By now, Surviving R. Kelly has been viewed in millions of homes across America. To keep things short, the documentary delves into the horrific reality that R. Kelly is a pedophile and has sexually harassed, assaulted, and abused women. He uses his power and wealth to control these women and take advantage of them mentally and sexually. From the first episode, we learn that Kelly had been a victim of abuse himself at a young age. This information is no use for justification but in fact provides clarity into why Kelly has chosen to do the things he does. After watching the documentary, I was left heartbroken for the women Kelly has endangered and gave false hope. The little black girls who had dreams of becoming a superstar were now being held captive. The women who wanted love are now left without a peace of mind because their abuser is still on the loose.  All of the emotions came rushing to me at once. I was proud of the way the documentary was done and handled by Lifetime and production. I thought it captured the emotions and stories effortlessly. More importantly, I was happy that this was being brought to the forefront of everyone’s attention. Key information people have known or did not know resurfaced and it made me think, why have we chosen to ignore such vital information? And is it because R. Kelly and his music runs so deep within the black community that we could not dare give up on him?

It wasn’t until episode 2 that I started to realize how REAL, these events were. The pain on the faces of the women who were brave to share their stories, put pain in my heart. I felt what they felt. I hurt for them. The women presented in the doc were all women of color. Many were young at the time, and some skewing older. Nonetheless, once talk about the infamous sex tape began was when I started to question everyone, even myself, who was 6 at about the time the tape surfaced. People who saw the tape claim to not have known that the girl was young at the time and because Kelly was found not guilty, it seems as though the world had forgot who he was. Because of the mass production of “hits” we somehow got lost in the music. After the case was dismissed nobody cared, well some. But on the outside looking in nobody had the victims back or the future victims that would come forward with their stories as well. So, that leaves me to think, if these women had been white? Would we have believed them then? Would we have this predator in jail by now? All speculative. But, one thing we do know is that when it comes to celebrities, the more power and wealth you have, the easier it is to get away with things. We (Society) ignore hard truths because it is much simpler to “separate an artist from their music and body of work” as some put it than to have human decency. Our first reaction is to silence the victims instead of hear them out, especially if they are women. But more so, if they are women of color. Chance the rapper even said he did not believe the “victims because they were black women.” There I sat appalled. Why are black women always the last to be seen as victims? Moreover, why does no one care. It should not have taken this long to make a documentary about the crimes this man has committed but we should never have glossed over the pedophilia this man has exerted in front of our very eyes. What I know now, is how severely disrespected and silenced the black women is. We are taught that we are being “fast” and sexualized at a young age. YET, no action is being taken against predatory men who don’t bother to ask a women her age. Things deeply riddled in society have been brought to life. Now that our eyes are open, it is up to us to change the narrative and to start protecting those who so desperately will be the first to protect us.


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