It is a gift and a curse to always search for the good in people. We want to believe that no matter how many times a person can hurt you, they still have some good inside of them. When “GQ” did “The Confession of R. Kelly” article it made me view him in a whole new light. I actually had hope for him, and even went back to listening to some of his music because he is one of the most talented singers, writers and producer in the game. But after this week I can finally say that I am completely done with R. Kelly. Once again, The pied piper of R&B just came under fire again after an article on “Buzz Feed” News alleges that multiple women are being held captive by him.

According to this report the women’s families, many of whom offered their daughters to him on silver platter in hopes of advancing their daughter’s musical careers are now claiming that the young women are displaying symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome from living under his heavy and unhealthy influence. According to his former assistant, Cheryl Mack, the women are required to address him as “Daddy”, and he refers to them as his babies. While the story altogether sickens me, it’s the endless support that the black community continues to have for him that hurts me the most.

Since the article dropped Monday, a number of people have taken time out of their lives to defend R. Kelly against another round of what they consider “endless harassment”. One woman tweeted,

 “These are allegations. They have not been proven victims. I will not throw black men under the bus when cops are killing them for fun daily.

Personally I do not see where the two things draw comparison. Another person stated that we should be grateful to R. Kelly cause his music is the reason most of us are here today. However, the women who have allegedly been harmed for the past five years are considered nothing more than collateral damage for R. Kelly.

To understand R. Kelly history with young women then you have to start from the beginning like in 1995, when R. Kelly married then 15-year-old Aaliyah. The late R&B singer recorded her first album, “Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number” in 1994, when she was just 14 years old, with Kelly as her primary songwriter on her debut album. During their time working together it was rumors of a romantic relationship between the two, then Vibe published a marriage certificate filed between the pair in 1995, in Rosemont, Illinois which Aaliyah’s falsified her age saying she was 18 when she was just really 15. Neither artist publicly admitted to the marriage before Aaliyah’s death in a plane crash in 2001. Their alleged relationship hunted R. Kelly for years. Similar to so many of the other women, Aaliyah was introduced to Kelly by a family member, her uncle.

In 1996, another teenager 15-year-old Tiffany Hawkins came forward and reported that she and Kelly had sex. In a 1996 lawsuit that went completely unreported at the time, Hawkins claimed to have a three-year sexual relationship with Kelly that began in 1991, when she was 15, and 1994 when she turned 18. According to the story, Kelly met Hawkins and one other teenaged girl with whom he allegedly had sex with while he was visiting a choir class at Kenwood Academy in Chicago where he’d attended school before. DeRogatis later said that Hawkins slit her wrists in a suicide attempt after the relationship reportedly ended. In the lawsuit, she alleged that R. Kelly encouraged her to participate in group sex with other underage girls, and sought after $10 million in damages. The other alleged victim, who goes unnamed reported that she and Hawkins sang backup vocals on Kelly-produced songs. She also said that Kelly urged her to drop out school to be with him (endless harassment though huh), and that she believed that having sex with Kelly would help her musical career (where were these girls parents?). She added that Kelly did not physically force himself on her or any of the other young women but called his apparent predilection for underage girls a “sickness in which he needed help.” Furthermore, Hawkins and Kelly settled out of court for $250,000 as if that could erase permanent damage he likely caused her.

Even after these reports people continue to support his music, and two more women came forward and reported a sexual relationship with the star, like former Epic Records intern, Tracy Sampson. She filed a lawsuit alleging that Kelly encouraged her “into a sexual relationship” in 2000, when she was 17 years old at the time. Her suit confirms the more recent allegations about Kelly’s emotional manipulation on younger women. She stated that “I was coerced into receiving oral sex from a girl I did not want to have sex with,” she claimed in her suit. “I was often treated as his personal sex object and cast aside she also stated. He would tell me to come to his studio and have sex with him, then tell me to go. He often tried to control every aspect of my life including who I would see and where I would go.” Kelly and Sampson settled out of court for an undisclosed sum, the New York Post reported the following year.

Now, you have to ask yourself if there is no truth into these new allegations then why does he continue to settle out of court instead of defending his name? In 2008, he finally decided to attempt to clear his name, when he went to trial for his child pornography charges. He was charged back in 2002, but they prolong the case so much that many forgot that he was even on trial. However, Kelly went to trial for the Chicago child porn charges in June 2008 after 6 years of delays. A jury found him not guilty of all 14 remaining counts. Fourteen witnesses for the prosecution identified the woman on the tape as the same unidentified girl, and several also identified Kelly as the man. An expert said that the tape had not been forged or otherwise has not been tampered with. But the alleged victim herself refused to testify against him, which presented “a big handicap” to the prosecution’s case, according to the jurors. According to WBEZ, the jurors said that they believed Kelly was the man on the tape, but could not be certain about the identity of the woman.

Even after all of that, just like so many other black people I found myself still trying to hold on to the good in R. Kelly. Oh, he makes such great music and oh I don’t really want to stop listening to his music. If he was really guilty he would have surely went to prison is what I tried to tell myself. Then when he admitted in “GQ” in 2016 that he was sexually assaulted as a child by one of his family members from “about [age] 7 or 8 to maybe 14, 15,” then I began to feel sorry for him. In this interview, he revealed his abuser as a blood relative. “I, well, definitely forgive them,” Kelly said.

“As I’m older, I look at it and I know that it had to be not just about me and them, but them and somebody older than them when they were younger, and whatever happened to them when they were younger. I looked at it as if there was a sort of like, I don’t know, a generational curse, so to speak, going down through the family. Not just started with her doing that to me.” ~R.Kelly

He went on to state that he still sleeps in the closet in his house and hearing that made me feel sympathetic but when he was spotted with a 19-year-old girl shortly after the interview my sympathy for him died quickly. My major issue is Im not sure if Robert finds his behavior problematic and if he can’t acknowledge that, then however can he change? We can all say that these families are looking for money but how many other women have to be allegedly victimized for US all to see that this man has a genuine problem?

I would like to ask the people that are so quick to support him that if they had daughters and they saw an older man trying to approach their child how would they react? It’s easy to throw shade, or call these families liars when it is not your child. Instead, of supporting him, and trying to justify his actions how about being REAL and helping this man get the help that he so desperately needs?

This is why young black children get molested every day by family members, and are scared to speak up because of the fear of being accused of being “a liar.” Far to often do black households like to sweep problems like this under the rug, as if that will make the pain and issues wash away or become tolerable dysfunction. Time will tell if these new allegations are true or not but we all know that their is some truth to this story. One thing I do know, is that the more and more information about R. Kelly’s history of abusing girls and young women is revealed, I find myself losing more and more hope and respect for him and the people who support him.

That Is All

~Judaea Payne

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