It’s time we finally hold R. Kelly accountable

But it has to be said: R. Kelly needs to be canceled.

by Jasmine Mouzon, Staff Writer

It has taken me awhile to muster up the courage to speak on this topic simply because I’m aware of the potential backlash I may receive.

But it has to be said: R. Kelly needs to be canceled.

As an artist, he is beyond talented and has served a huge role in the black community. His catchy songs have become traditional tunes for reunions, weddings and birthdays.

But, aside from his music, it has been proven that R. Kelly has a very cynical side to him that continues to bring complete pandemonium.

In a recent Lifetime documentary series titled “Surviving R. Kelly,” several black women came forward to reveal the amount of pain Kelly has brought to them.

From keeping them from seeing their families, to emotionally and physically abusing them, to even starving them at times for not complying with his orders. T

he documentary included women who had been romantically involved with Kelly.

They let the world know how difficult it was to leave someone who literally brainwashed them into believing there was no way out.

There is also accusations of Kelly being the leader of his own sex cult.

In all honesty, when I first began watching the series, I ignorantly said “why don’t these women just leave him and get back to their lives?”

But after watching all six episodes, I realized it was much deeper than that.

There’s a pattern of psychological torture behind all of Kelly’s tactics.

One of them being that he manipulates his victims into believing he’s a great man at first and then he lures them in by promising them a better life.

Not to mention a majority of his victims were/are minors, or much younger than he is.

The women who spoke out in the documentary are now older, thus giving us an idea of how long his acts have been going  on.

Despite the track record R. Kelly has, including a heinous pornographic video of him urinating on a 14-year-old girl and these recent testimonies, Kelly along with his fans continue to sweep accusations under the rug. When the documentary came out, many people on social media attacked the victims for being so “naive,” “slutty,” or “stupid”, yet not many felt compelled to hold a grown man accountable.

There are also people saying that these young girls shouldn’t have been trying to have sexual relations with a grown man, but not many pointed out how a grown man should know better than to hang around high schools and malls to prey on young girls instead of dating women his age.

What was even more shocking was that a majority of the people supporting R. Kelly were members of the black community who claimed this is just another case of America trying to bring down a successful black man.

As a black woman, I understand it’s very common for men of color to be brought down quicker than other ethnicities, however, there’s literally proof of R.Kelly doing the things he’s been accused of, so where’s the confusion?

Due to his large fanbase and presence in the black church, R.Kelly is once again capable of evading his charges and acting as if what he has done isn’t that big of a deal.

Kelly has surrounded himself with “yes” men and a music industry that enables his behavior. For the past 25 years or so, he has been sexually exploiting young black girls and women, and he continues to get away with it.

This sends a message to victims that even if they step forward, their voice doesn’t matter.

That also leads me to ask why is it that we always question victims more than we question the abuser?

Yes, in some cases we question sides due to possible false accusations.

However, according to BBC World News, over the past 20 years, only 2 to 10 percent of assaults are proven to be fake, so it’s not that common.

Thus, with over 20 women stepping forward to speak against R. Kelly, I’m still mind boggled at how dense people are being toward the victims.

The reason being that Kelly has done an exceptional job at maintaining two alter egos which consist of the sex fein that pop culture loves and the “wholesome” man who is adored by the church.

Overall, what can be extracted from the documentary is that black girls/women don’t matter.

I hate to say it, but if it was a group of white girls saying  an older Black man had sexually exploited them, R. Kelly would’ve been in jail 25 years ago. 

But, since women of color are already discredited due to their skin color, their voices are silenced and cries continue to be ignored.

The justice system simply doesn’t work in the favor of those who don’t have privilege, sorry not sorry.

Nonetheless, it’s important we hold R. Kelly accountable for these horrific acts in order to bring justice to the people he has hurt and is still hurting till this day.

It doesn’t matter how much money or how great someone’s music is, Kelly has abused dozens of young girls and women and needs to pay for his actions.

Thankfully, there are many people realizing how serious the accusations are such as Sony Records. They decided to release Kelly as an artist due to several protests and other signed artists threatening to leave the label unless Kelly was released.

So, I end this by saying, cancel R. Kelly and all that he stands for.

He has brought pain, suffering and devastation to the lives of many and will continue to do so unless people stop enabling his behavior.

Black women matter and their voices need to be heard.

As the great Malcolm X once said, “The most disrespected woman in America, is the black woman.

“The most unprotected person in America, is the black woman.

“The most neglected person in America, is the black woman.”

Jasmine Mouzon is a senior studying Africana studies.