Every time R Kelly finds himself back in the news and trending on social media (which is at least once or twice a year), black folk all over the web split off into two factions: those who believe wholeheartedly that he’s guilty and celebrate his demise, and those who believe wholeheartedly that he’s an innocent victim of a white supremacist conspiracy to destroy black men and black legacy. As a member of the former group, I’m going to do my best to explain why all arguments made by the latter group are, in fact, trash.
Since the, “Surviving R Kelly” documentary dropped in January, the What-About-Ism train has been moving full steam ahead and its been in overdrive since February when a the disgraced R&B icon was formally charged with ten counts of felony aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
And that train doesn’t miss a stop:
What about Elvis Presley?
What about Woody Allen?
What about Harvey Weinstein?
What about Roman Polanski?
What about catholic priests?
Where are their documentaries?
Where are their memes?
Why are only black predators being made the face of the “Me Too” movement?
The problem here is that all of these questions are being asked in a way that implies they’re rhetorical, when, in fact, they all have very real and reasonable answers.
Q: “Where are their documentaries?”
A: “Nigga, they absolutely exist!”
The same month that “Surviving R Kelly” dropped, a Harvey Weinstein documentary called “Untouchable” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
None of the “What about Weinstein” face niggas breathed a word about it.
This could only be for one of two reasons: Either they didn’t know, or they only give a shit about white pervs when black pervs are in the spotlight.
Now, just in case it was the former, I did a quick google search on the doc to see how extensively it was promoted.
Sure enough reports popped up from USA Today, LA Times, NY Times, NPR, Deadline, Indie Wire, Vox and various other popular publication sites along multiple trailers for it which can be found on YouTube.
And this is just one of the half dozen documentaries and network TV specials that have been done on Weinstein since his exploits have come to light.
It’s the same for most of the other white predators mentioned. Several documentaries and specials can be found on filmmaker Roman Polanski who had to flee the fucking country over his alleged sex crimes back in 1977 (in case you were serious in your wondering why you haven’t seen any current memes ridiculing him… his shit is old as fuck. Suffice it to say, meme technology didn’t exist in ’77). “Roman Polanski: Wanted And Desired” and the follow up film “Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out” would be good places to start as they detail his sex abuse case as well as his successful fight against extradition back to the U.S.
In 1995 Fox produced a damning mini series called “Mia Farrow: Love And Betrayal” chronicling the actress’s toxic marriage and relationship with Woody Allen, which included the allegations that he molested her adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow as well has his affair with her other adoptive daughter Soon-yi Previn who he later married.
Oh, and Catholic priests? Jesus Christ (no pun intended), bruh. I couldn’t possibly count how many documentaries and exposés have been done, but you can start with the recent, popular as fuck Netflix docuseries, “The Keepers” a tale of murder, cover up, and rapes by multiple priests at a Catholic highschool.
The list goes on (and on and on and the fuck on).
Ok, but how come those documentaries haven’t been promoted as heavily as Kelly’s? Why haven’t I seen them trending for days and weeks at a time all over my news feed?
Well bruh, I’d say you’re kind of moving the goal post with that question, but sure, I’ll go ahead and tackle that one too.
I’ll say this in the most sophisticated way I can think of to say it: Nigga, you black. Far more likely than not, your friends and follows lists are predominantly black, which means internet algorithms will have your various news feeds looking just as black. R Kelly is a black cultural icon. “Surviving R Kelly” is a documentary produced on Lifetime by black ass Dream Hampton and features and all black cast of commentators. Our feeds generally align with our interests and I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb when I say that black people won’t see as much news on Weinstein and the like as we see on Kelly and the like because we just don’t be studying them niggas like that.
I mean, I consider myself to be pretty culturally well rounded but even I couldn’t name more than five or so movies directed by Roland Polanski or Woody Allen without Googling them first, yet I could name a dozen R Kelly songs off the top of my head, and I was never even a fan of the guy. I love black people to death, but I must admit there are times when I wish more of us would step outside of our black ass worlds at least long enough to get it out of our heads that shit doesn’t exist just because we don’t know about shit.
When I hear (or read) us asking questions like, “Why are only black predators being made the face of the ‘Me Too’ movement?” I get frustrated knowing it’s an absurd question based on a narrow range of information sources.
After all Harvey Weinstein (whose name I’m getting tired as hell of typing out at this point to be honest) is the very man who catapulted the movement into the mainstream and he, comedian, Louis C.K. and actor Kevin Spacey were the firsts to lose their careers and have it irreparably trash their reputations. And unlike Kelly and Cosby, the effects were immediate. It took no time at all for Netflix and other streaming services to purge their sites of all Louis C.K. stand up specials and TV series; and this happened when he was one of the most popular comedians in the world as opposed to Bill Cosby whose fall didn’t come until he was in his career twilight. Kevin Spacey’s sex scandal went public and before fans knew it, his character was dropped from his hit Netflix series, “House Of Cards” (a show he was the star of). I wonder why these names are never mentioned in this long list of “what abouts” (outside of the very obvious fact that they don’t fit the narrative).
Look people, I’m not denying that black criminality is treated far more harshly than white criminality both in our media and in our justice system, I’m only saying that particular brand of inequality doesn’t apply to R Kelly, Bill Cosby or any other rich and famous black icon you may feel inclined to cape for.
R Kelly was able to marry a 15 year old Aaliyah and not be investigated for it, let alone prosecuted and his career didn’t take a single hit. He went on to be tried, with video evidence, on sex abuse and child pornography charges and was acquitted of everything. He was left in the position to continue victimizing black girls and women for over 20 years. Black people should be wishing our criminal justice system was as kind to the rest of us as it’s been to him up until now.
So now that I’ve answered all of your questions, I have a very simple one for all of you on “Team aRah”: If you’re so pro black, why all this empathy for him and not his victims? Because, as far as I can tell, y’all on the Pee-hive who are wagging your fingers at the rest of us for pouncing all over the man while he’s already down, were still buying his music and concert tickets while he was pouncing all over underage black girls and traumatizing them for the rest of their lives.