R. Kelly’s release of a song that “confesses” relationships with underage women, sexual abuse, dyslexia and more has sparked debate on social media between those who love him and those who think he should be in jail.
Kelly claims in the song, “I Admit,” that he’s broke and he made the song to make money after the mounting sexual predator suits, and loss of money-making partnerships, but many people — Black women and their allies — say he’s dismissing the wrong he’s done and turning himself into the victim.
“The bottom line is that R. Kelly and his victims are the perfect storm of people we don’t care about,” activist Kenyette Tisha Barnes, who started the #MuteRKelly campaign, recently
told BuzzFeed. “We protect problematic Black men in the Black community, and we discard Black girls in all communities.”
While Twitter has supporters saying it’s his best song ever, many are looking past the artistry and into the message of the value of Black women:
I’ll never look at this cover the same ever again… Look at R. Kelly creepin in the back. He knew what this meant. We didn’t.
Perhaps R. Kelly is still releasing music because our society cares even less about black women than it does about white women or black men.
— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell)
July 23, 2018
There’s something about the construct of masculinity that tells male victims of child sexual abuse that it’s only natural to inflict similar harm on others (Charlemagne, R. Kelly, etc…) Somehow the vast majority of female victims don’t receive that message (Maya Angelou, Oprah)
— Elizabeth Adetiba (@LizTweetsThings) July 24, 2018
When I see Black people defend R. Kelly’s antics and then see that a beautiful young, Black woman #NiaWilson was senselessly murdered by a White man it’s like Black women have to fight everyone. We have to fight people that look like us and people that don’t. It’s so tiring.
— Hannah Drake (@HannahDrake628) July 24, 2018
Black females’ value in this country is low, as evidenced by: high percentage of Black women missing that are not searched for or found, the need for an additional movement for Black women’s #MeToo, Serena Williams’ motherhood being used against her and many more examples.
And while some radio stations echoed Spotify’s move earlier this year to drop his music from their playlists, the music industry is still mostly silent about Kelly’s 20-year scandalous history. In fact, the industry has promoted Black men who assault Black women: slain rapper Xxxtentacion, the 20-year-old Floridian, who had been formally charged with aggravated battery of his pregnant girlfriend and domestic battery by strangulation, got his first Billboard number one single.
Kelly even asks in the song for Black women to support Black men more because they go through a lot, but he then proceeds to tell stories of his use of women, who sometimes were involved with his friends, as sexual conquests just to pass time; his “love” for 15-year-old Aaliyah; and his relationships with multiple underage women (vs. “over age”). He pardons himself of all his transgressions, and trivializes people who speak out against pedophilia for having “opinions.”