In the children’s tale of the Pied Piper of Hamlin, the village suffered from an infestation of rats. A mysterious piper appeared on the scene and offered to rid the village of the rats if he were handsomely rewarded for his efforts. They agreed. The piper performed the task, but when it came time for the village to ante up they stiffed him. So he led their children out of the village never to be seen again.
Times have changed and the villages are now called hoods. Today, R&B Pied Piper R. Kelly is now being chased with pitchforks and torches by the same villagers that once swooned to his erotic lullabies. In a new documentary entitled Surviving R. Kelly, the singer’s skeletons are aired out to the world in an expose’ that appears to be nothing short of incendiary. Pockets of black women have taken to social media and various news outlets to vent their rage at what they describe as unspeakable acts of mental and sexual abuse, domestic violence and child molestation.
The documentary details a life of uninhibited, gratuitous sex with younger and in some instances, allegedly, under-aged girls. Initially, the documentary raises the case of the Late Aaliyah Haughton. Thanks to the intervention of a road manager, Kelly married Haughton when she was only 15 years of age. His road manager forged government documents misstating her age as 18 (the legal age of consent). Shockingly, not only were Haughton’s parents silent on the marriage, Aaliyah’s mother denied any allegations of inappropriate conduct with the late singer. This sets in motion a disturbing pattern that occurs all throughout this documentary.
All of the alleged teenaged victims in the documentary appeared to have very tenuous relationships with their parents. In every instance, there appeared to be no parental supervision, much less control over these teenagers. Now I know what you are gonna say. You’re gonna say that i’m victim blaming and excusing Kells’ pedophilia because of his celebrity. The truth is i’m not now, nor have I ever be a fan of Kelly’s music. Personally, I’ve always seen him as a cheap 90’s knockoff of Charlie Wilson.
But even conceding to the fact of Kells’ pedophilia, we must confess that his sexual perversions such as they are, are not single solitary crimes. He had more than willing accomplices. The idealizing of teenage innocence is extremely overblown in this documentary to the point of chronic nausea. It is second only to the grotesque lack of parental accountability in nearly all six episodes of this series. Proof of this is the globally infamous pee video of 2001. Kelly is seen getting head and urinating on a 14-yr old girl. The girl was allegedly, the niece of his protege, Sparkle. Remarkably, when the case finally came to trial, 6 years later, both the girl and her parents stated that it was not her in the video. And though his name is uttered by his brother in the video, Kelly pulled a Shaggy on the public and jury by simply saying,” it wasn’t me.” All 3 denials were sufficient for Kelly to obtain an acquittal from the jury.
So what would make the parents of a sexually molested teenager deny the commission of what can only be described as statutory rape even when it’s captured on film? Embarrassment? Ridicule? Or is there something else? This answer is so simple that it suggests a certain absurdity in posing the question. The whole issue is further complicated by the fact that most of the alleged abuse took place while these girls were of legal age to consent to sex.
Though they professed to being virgins, they all confessed to consenting to sex with Kelly. If you put aside all of the scripted displays of spontaneous tears, and the countless rationalizations for the abysmal lack of any accountability (parental or otherwise), by the psychologists shown in the documentary, it is clear that these girls did what they wanted to do, when they wanted to do it. Age, morality, and consequences be damned.
Did R. Kelly use his wealth, status, and power to seduce these young teenagers? Hell yes! Did he subject them to an abusive pimp hand that would make Bishop Don Magic Juan, Pimpin Ken, and Gangster Brown shudder? No doubt! But is this enough to vest the sole responsibility of these affairs soundly on his shoulders?
American Entertainment has long been known to encourage a worship of celebrity culture. It promotes an artist lifestyle that is fueled on “sex, drugs, and rock and roll.” In Black America this adulation has always remained at epidemic levels. As a result, it is not un-common for naive, young black women to willingly offer their bodies as a sacrifice to any predatory psychopaths with a name, if they think it will help them escape the nagging sense of anonymity and crippling poverty in the hood. In urban street culture this is known as hittin a lick. And it is every bit as predatory as artist manipulation for a quick and easy pump and dump session with a star struck groupie.
On his 1990 release of his seminal album America’s Most Wanted, on a track called Get Off My Dick Nigga & Tell Yo Bitch To Come Here, Legendary OG emcee Ice Cube exclaims:
” I step into the club to run with ya, it seems like all the little hoes fall in love with my money, but just about a year ago, I was just your average ordinary everyday crazy ass bro. But they know I just can’t be equal. Cuz they know, I know a lot of famous people. But to a one night stand there’s no sequel. Here’s the pickle (his penis). Pretend it’s a popsicle.”
Cube is explicitly clear about what he is doing. He is also equally clear that everyone is cognizant about what’s going on back at the hotel. But because any discussion of personal responsibility among the black poor is derided as “respectability politics,” any attempts to attribute the slightest degree of accountability to the teenaged girls is quickly countered with guilt shaming and emotional blackmail. However, when confronted with the inconvenient narrative of the numerous out of court settlements that Kelly has paid to his victims, the argument seems to lose all anger from those who hold fast to the principle of respecting women.
And finally, the silent accomplice. There is an old adage that goes, the best way to hide something is in plain sight. In the documentary it was clear that R. Kelly’s conduct was enabled by not only the girls and the fans, but the record label. Through all of the drama, he kept making records. And both he and the labels, kept cashing the checks. This exposes a terrible flaw in American capitalism. One can be a serial pedophile, but if he is making the hits, you hide his crimes with clever public relations firms, multi-million dollar attorneys, and clean up men that adhere to a blood oath of omerta.
But these victims nor their supporters have said one word of Kells’ ability to go through criminal cases in both Illinois and Florida and come out relatively unscathed. If the crime happened in 2002, why did it take almost 6 yrs before this case would be tried in court? Under the Constitution, a defendant is guaranteed a right to a speedy trial within 180 days. The defendant can waive this right, and it is fairly common for the judge to grant the waiver. But 6 years?????
It is clear that Kelly’s attorneys played an active part in delaying these proceedings. But it is not clear why the prosecutors and the Court extended this courtesy beyond all normal expectations. This speaks volumes of the enormous influence and control that entrenched institutions of power have over the criminal justice system. When faced with a sure conviction, they simply ran the clock down until all the parties no longer cared about the outcome.
Honestly, under any other circumstance, R. Kelly would have probably been laid down a long time ago. This man is clearly guilty of at least one count of statutory rape even though a jury found him not guilty. And as long as the parents of his alleged victims continue to receive the green that leads to cataracts of the eyes, he will stay free. He is an emotionally damaged, amoral, apex predator. But under the American Justice System, an adoring, predominantly female fan base, and a killer settlement game, he is somewhere planning his next move while most of Black America is caught up in the sensationalism of a scandalous documentary that begins with a repeated denial of any guilt on his part for anything. To expect him to take accountability when his alleged victims, a barrage of willing women, lawyers, and record execs enable him is simply dimwitted. After all what kid you know wants to leave Disneyland? Till next time here’s the remix.
TONY MACEO is a senior blogger at the Negromanosphere and the Chief Blogger at Power & Strategy.com. Like and Share the articles. Subscribe to the website. Follow us on FB@ Power and Strategy. Become a supporter on Patreon @powerofstrategies, or Paypal at firstname.lastname@example.org.