This blog is not another write up about R. Kelly and if you should or should not support him. We know who R. Kelly is and what he has done (allegedly) and I am not going to debate that case again. However, let me be the first to say, I do not excuse any of R. Kelly’s behavior. I was a huge R. Kelly fan and listened to 12-Play at least a million times. R. Kelly was the introduction to everything musically erotic with a unique mixture of R & B, hip hop, and sex appeal. His talent for songwriting and performing is immeasurable. There was nothing that R. Kelly touched that was not pure genius. Then the “secret” marriage to Aaliyah. Then the allegations came. Then the infamous video tape and enough was finally enough. The writing was on the wall. As much as I didn’t want it to be true, there was no denying the many accusations made against R. Kelly. There would be no more Bump N Grind, no more rocking to Ignition and no more believing that I could touch the sky while listening to I Believe I Can Fly. It was over.
R. Kelly was what his accusers alleged R. Kelly was. A man that used his fame and fortune to prey on young women. Inherently we knew the truth; it was just that we didn’t want to believe. We didn’t want to believe that R. Kelly could do such a horrible thing because he doesn’t fit the description of how we think a pedophile should look. R. Kelly is talented, wealthy, and assumingly could date any adult woman he desired. What we failed to understand is that money doesn’t make you a different person, money just brings out more of who you truly are. And who R. Kelly is, has been shown to us over and over again. Indeed where there is smoke, typically there is a fire. And this one has grown into an inferno.
R. Kelly has his issues, and they run deep. However, my focus in this blog will not be on R. Kelly, but the parents mentioned in the Buzzfeed article that allege R. Kelly is holding their daughter in a cult like environment. In summary, the parents KNEW the allegations brought against R. Kelly. They KNEW the things whispered about R. Kelly in quiet conversations. They KNEW about the trial. And STILL, they sent their daughter to be with him all under the belief that their daughter would advance her singing career. As stated in the article the mother says “In the back of our minds, we were thinking [my daughter] could be around him if I was with her. It didn’t really hit home. Even with the Aaliyah situation, now that I think about it, ‘Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number’ … but you don’t think about that. You grew up with the song, and you like the song.”
That is the problem- “You don’t think about that.” While R. Kelly has a wealth of alleged sins and guilt that he must contend with, the parents, in this case, are equally as complicit. They led their daughter like a lamb to the slaughter. There is blood on everyone’s hands. And that is my problem.
Parents we MUST stop selling our children to the highest and most convenient bidder. While they were chasing fame and fortune, they offered their child to an accused predator. However, it is not just them; many parents will offer their children to the highest bidder because the predator pays the rent, they buy you nice things, they keep the lights on, they pay for your car. And in exchange for cheap tokens, you turn your head. You pretend you don’t see. You tell your daughter to be nice to “Uncle” John when he comes over. You sexualize your daughter so that “Uncle” John will be pleased when he comes to visit. You pretend as if you do not see the way he looks at your daughter. And when your son or daughter comes to you and tells you that “Uncle” John or “Pastor” Johnson touched them inappropriately, you tell them to shut up, to hush that noise, not to say anything because you will lose your tokens. You sell your children to those that prey on them in increments. Every time you turn your head, every time you make your child sit on “Uncle” John’s lap or give “Uncle” John a kiss, even when they say they do not want to, you are selling your child in small increments.
What is the going price for your child’s innocence? How many tokens must he buy you for you to remain silent? How many hits of dope does it take to bribe you not to say anything? How many handbags and red bottoms must he buy you for you not to contact the authorities? How much does someone have to pay for you to look the other way and pimp your son or daughter? How long will you continue to pretend as if you don’t know what your mate is doing to your child? What is the going price for a grown man to share your bed and your daughter’s bed? How many pieces of silver does it take for you to pretend that nothing is going on?
As parents, we are called to be the first line of defense for our children. It is our job to protect our children at all costs. We cannot be blindsided with shiny trinkets. Our children are not be pimped and prostituted for monetary gain or fame. Our children are not to be served up on an auction block for men or women that will give you your next hit or pay your rent. You are supposed to protect your child from threats not hand them over to the threat. We must do better in our families and our communities. We must work harder to protect our children. Children are not a commodity to be sold to the highest bidder while we look in the other direction and pretend that we do not see that for 30 pieces of silver we have sold our child’s soul to a predator.