Kells. The R. Robert. The Piped Piper. The last name’s irony should not be left unchecked. Robert Kelly performed on The Soul Train Music Awards last night. They actually gave him the “honor” of closing the show. Usually, something designated for a great and popular talent, which many, many, many years ago Kelly would have been seen in that light with no questions asked. However, I do have questions or maybe they are just rhetorical thoughts coming out as WTH.
The Soul Train Awards was a pretty great show this year. The performances were on point and the tributes to Babyface were memorable. ( Who knew he wrote ” Tender Roni”?) Erykah Badu done an amazing job as host and the audience seem to be enjoying themselves. (Although, it was puzzling to me how our sister Erykah could shade the dead horse named Iggy Azalea, yet stand next to Kelly on the stage at the end of the award show like they were old pals, high fiving and everything.) About 15 minutes before the end of the show, there is a blurb that R. Kelly’s performance was up next and I promptly changed the channel on my television. Robert Kelly gets none of my viewing minutes because just in case anyone has forgotten, this is the human that peed on underage girls, groomed underage girls like Creepy McCreepers expertly do, video taped those atrocious and vile things he perpetrated on the underage girls and then two-stepped himself right out of court with the magic of money, great lawyers and blind fandom.
And yet, last night across the sands of Black Twitter, were black women using 140 characters to shake their shoulders to the musical stylings of R. Kelly. Some even stating , they are conflicted by his known past behavior. But, they can’t stop dancing or they know he did these disgusting things to young girls. But hey, they grew up to his music, so he gets a pass for the next 5 minutes. Say Huh?
Since those tapes were revealed in 2002, black women young and old have been coming to Robert Kelly’s defense and in the same breath saying they KNOW it was him in the video. They will come up with any excuse about why they still say, ” Seems Like Your Ready” is their jam. ” Those girls just wanted to be with a star.” or “Their parents knew what was going on.” Ironically, these are the same women who were lightning quick to check Michael B. Jordan for using the word, “female” or protest the use an ill-advised meme stating the tired claim of “angry black woman”. Nonetheless, curiously singing along to a R. Kelly song and bragging about it is…okay.
I don’t expect B.E.T to know better and apparently we cannot count on Centric, the channel that purports itself to be ” The First Network Designed For Black Women”; WAIT, read those words slowly out loud one mo’ gen THE. FIRST. NETWORK. DESIGNED. FOR. BLACK. WOMEN. to not have Robert Kelly singing on a stage filled with black women to an audience full of black women as if 2002 never happened. As if in 2013, The Village Voice did not publish an excellent in-depth expose’ on Kelly’s tangled web of predatory acts. As if, there were not pictures of Robert and a young girl “which allegedly depicted Kelly “involved in sexual conduct with the female minor” found on Kelly’s camera during a search warrant. As if when his last album was released and #AskRKelly did not get him drugged through Twitter with a quickness. I’m willing to bet the entire farm, that some of the same women who participated in the #AskRKelly slay-age were dancing and singing in their living rooms last night while he performed.
Let me put this as plain as possible; if you were rocking or singing along to Robert Kelly’s music last night, you should look yourself in the mirror a little bit longer tonight. If you posted on social media last night that you were “jam’n”, “shoulder shaking”, “head nod’n” or toe tapping to Robert Kelly’s music last night, you should question whether you would think he was pivotal in your music upbringing if that was your sister, niece or daughter in those videos. If you have used your voice, whether it be auditory or written to say at any point, Black Women Matter, you should be ashamed.