So, I was an R.Kelly fan. I think he's great. I do. I think he is probably one of the most talented men in music. I jammed to the music. I went to the concert. He's great in concert. He inspires me artistically. I love his songwriting. Great voice. He's awesome.
When the incident with Aaliyah happened, I think I might have been too young to fully grasp what was going on. I honestly don't remember hearing about it until later. There wasn't any social media back then and rumors died a lot quicker than they do today. What I remember most is R.Kelly becoming a superstar. I believe I can fly was everyone's graduation song. It's a classic.
Then the whole thing with Sparkle's niece and the infamous sex tape came out. I think I might have been in middle school. I remember it being pretty big and I remember how long and drawn out the case was. It didn't end until I was in high school. But that still didn't stop anybody from listening to R.Kelly. He was still a huge star. We still heard his music on every radio station in every car. I remember playing his songs in marching band. He was still a major part of black culture and music. It's almost like the rape allegations made him more famous.
Then the comedy came. From Dave Chappell to Aaron McGruder's Boondocks, we all joked and laughed about everything. I love both Chappell and McGruder, but sometimes I wonder if their messages were over shadowed by the comedy. No one really took Kelly's allegations seriously. Especially the black community. I think it might have been a mixture of us being hypnotized by his music and the "They always coming for a black man" theory. Don't get me wrong, black men are huge targets. But sometimes niggas just be guilty. So we all made a mockery out of everything and continued going to concerts and buying music.
Then fast forward to today and you hear about sex trafficking, females being groomed to be pets, him taking advantage of the hunger of aspiring artist and more scandals. Basically everything has gotten worse. I always thought I was able to separate the person from the artist. I always felt like your personal life is none of my business and I just like your work. The end. I'm not going to hold you up on a pedestal and defend or condemn what happens in your personal life. I don't know the person. I know the artist. But I think we all have to draw the line somewhere.
And I'm about ready to draw it.
My cousin mentioned something that hit me. "When you support R.Kelly, your supporting the sex trafficking and everything that comes with him. He's using the money he makes off of touring and music to finance his lifestyle. And just like that, I felt responsible. Not just for R.Kelly, but for everybody and everything I support. When you spend your money on someone, you are supporting that person's lifestyle. Now, what I'm NOT about to do is vet every single thing I spend money on. Not gonna happen. But, I'm definitely a lot more cautious and observant.
But now I'm asking myself:
1.Why were schools across the country, from elementary to college allowed to sing I believe I can fly ?
2. Why were we allowed to play his songs in marching band?
3. Why were radio stations still playing his music?
4. Why were so many artist still working with him?
5. Why were we laughing at rape and child pornography ?
6. Should we have boycotted?
How exactly does the black court of public opinion work? I feel like everything he has done was "ok" with the black community for far too long and this is what he has turned into. The result is a powerful man getting carried away with a sick addiction. He's gotten 10x worse. He is the equivalent to a crackhead. We let this monster evolve. We helped create this. So, not only do I blame R.Kelly and whatever attributed to his upbringing and him becoming "him", I also blame us. We're too loyal and to all the wrong things. For all the wrong reasons. Then somehow we're not loyal at all to certain things. (I'll save that topic for another blog post). But I blame us for continuing to support not only his music but also his demons. Myself included.