Let me start off with a disclaimer: This article is in no way promoting, indorsing, or justifying sexual abuse, rape or any other illegal acts towards minors.
As most of us know, in the summer of 2019, R&B superstar R Kelly was arrested on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault. Not too long after, there would be 11 more allegations of sexual harassment and violence against multiple minors between the ages of 13 and 16. Now if you followed this guy, then you know that for YEARS, dating back to the early nineties, there were reports of his involvement with minors. But let me ask you guys a question: is R Kelly really the only the person who should shoulder the burden of responsibility for these crimes?
R Kelly Wasn't The Only Adult Invovled
In my humble opinion, there is plenty of blame to go around for this entire situation. But before I go any further, let me to be crystal clear for a moment. I'm accusing R. First and foremost, Kelly himself, because I wholeheartedly agree he should be in prison. With that said now, I think it's more than fair to even allocate responsibility to the parents of the young ladies with whom he was also associated. From where I am, it seems to me like the vast majority of them, mainly monetarily (cough *Aaliyah* cough), pimped out their children for their own benefits.
For instance, several of the parents acknowledged that they would invite R Kelly (or a member of his team) to pick up their daughter, often an aspiring musician, for a "studio session" in a hotel room. I mean, I don't know about you but I suppose I'd be sort of scratching my head if an adult would invite my teenage daughter to some kind of hotel... and here's the kicker folks—the parents would be told they're NOT allowed to come in. Excuse me?
See, you have one thing to remember is this. R Kelly was a huge superstar in the music industry and had contacts. If anyone is willing to build a star, it would be him. It could also be said that for years, the stories about his relationships with minors were widely known and not a mystery. It is my opinion that in their view, the majority of parents saw dollar signs and allowed Mr. Kelly to have his way because they felt it would later enrich them. The truly sad part here is alot of their parents convinced themselves they are doing this in order to "help" their children pursue their dreams.
It doesn't stop there folks. I blame the men AND the women on R. Kelly's staff, who made it easier for him to fake any and all legal papers, as well as employ girls for him at common locations where they would gather, such as McDonald's and the mall. I blame adults like former singer Sparkle, who, thanks to their frequent time with each other, possibly knew better than anybody about his actions. What has Sparkle been doing now? I'm grateful that you asked. On some times, she took her niece around Kelly and through her own admission would leave the two of them in the studio alone. Then guess what happened...yep appeared on the documentary Surviving R Kelly and cried about how much of a monster he is.
Some of the "Victims" Bear Responsibility As Well
I'm sure this section is going to be contentious for others but here goes. Some of the girls also had a chance to escape, according to the documentary. But guess what? Again and again, they would come back to his home, often taking with them another young lady. Again the acts of R Kelly are illegal. Although in my opinion, by the time a boy or girl hits the age of 17, I believe such things should be best known to them.
For example, let's say R Kelly were to send a limousine with the request of coming to his house and not to tell anyone. To me, I think that 17 year old person should have enough sense to say "hmmm...something isn't right about that." But for the sake of argument, let's say they go ahead and place themselves in the vehicle. If you are headed to this so called business meeting, (the meaning that your parents aren't allowed to attend, mind you) and he keeps telling you to refer to him as "Daddy", or instructs you to put on a bathing suit and sit on his lap, shouldn't that be a gigantic red flag?
Let's be clear here. There is a very thin line between victim & participant. So what is the appropriate age when we stop saying these younger folks are simply naïve and don't or didn't know better, or understand their actions? Yes, R Kelly is dead wrong but I wish these old teens didn't voluntarily put themselves at risk as well You see, in my mind this is different than a guy slipping a pill in your drink at a club or something sneaky like that. The older "victims" should have enough sense to not try advancing their hopes and dreams of musical aspirations through the means of sex with ANYONE.
To me, if you are 12, 13, 14 years old, then yea, okay. That's a little bit different to me as far as the level of manipulability. But a senior in high school? C'mon. I can see if one of R. Kelly's associates snatched one up and kidnapped them but when they assist with the setting up of the camera in his home, well...it's hard to cry victim at that point.
Black Lives Matter...Right?
It was repeatedly said in the documentary that the government doesn't care for black children, which I believe is true because much of the judicial system doesn't care for black people at all. We have to look out for us and protect each other in my opinion, before we look for that affirmation beyond the black community.
We need to continue educating and reinforcing our girls, boy or girl, that in order to be good, you don't have to spread your legs and that everyone telling you to do that is a dirtbag. We need to tell them not to use the money, fame, etc they have earned as instruments for sexual transactions with those who are trying to come up with. In general, we as a people need to think about each other more. And if we're going to say that Black Lives Matter, then it should also mean keeping each other accountable when we're wrong, no matter how uncomfortable it might be as well as saying the word to point out in a situation how wrong we were.
It's easy as it is to say it's all R. Kellly's fault, it really is. However, I think we should look at all contributing factors to how we got to this point in the first place. It didn't happen overnight. And for a fourth time, I think Kells is completely wrong and in no way am I way defending him nor am I actively trying to "victim blame". A lot of innocent young people has had their lives negatively changed forever & that's something that should never happen to any child. In fact, no one of any age should experience any sexual assault, abuse or rape. Period.