We all have been on an extended mind f**k after the Surviving R. Kelly special. I certainly was among the women who tuned in to the docu-series on Lifetime which highlighted the numerous sexual allegations toward him from women of color and underage girls.
I have been in my own head about the situation while experiencing numerous emotions. I indeed am a woman of color who believes R. Kelly is a sexual predator and I do not support him. I am on board with whatever happens to him in the midst of this scandal because I believe all human beings who violate children and women should be held accountable.
On one end I am speaking in the name of feminism, but on the other end, I am skeptical about what this situation might bring. I support my brothers and what I am witnessing is an agenda that could also affect innocent Black men.
Since the airing of this special on Lifetime, I have seen talks of a special on Michael Jackson and the sexual allegations against him being shown at the Sundance Film Festival.
My initial reaction was confusion because the last time I checked, Michael Jackson is deceased and his accusers admitted to lying. So now white people are producing series about false allegations toward a dead man? I know a lot of Black men are concerned about the fact that men of color seem to be getting all the media attention lately when it comes to sexual crimes and white men's misdeeds are somewhat forgotten on a large scale. Whether that is the case or not, I have to ask:
Is this causing a rippling effect?
Is this putting all men of color on trial?
These are questions we need to think about and seriously take into consideration. We have to be very cautious in how we approach these issues and make sure that every case is handled separately. In our dialogue, we have to remain cognizant of our words and how they might affect our brothers.
I am not telling sisters to tip-toe around the issue or refrain from engaging in conversation about R. Kelly or speaking out on sexual violence, because we need to. There needs to be more of a discussion in the Black community about sexual abuse and the silence among women of color. But there also needs to be a discussion on how we can engage proactively and have healthy dialogue that doesn't get all our brothers caught in the crossfire.
As a woman who stands against sexual abuse toward any woman, I also stand with my brothers. I have not forgotten you. What many of your sisters are asking from you is to stand with us. We need to support each other. Think of us as victims, not opponents and hear our stories. We are not all out to get you.
When we speak out and you refuse to believe us we become divided. And I believe there are a lot of Black women who somewhat feel neglected by our men. We are the least protected species on the planet and we desperately need you to be our soldiers.
Underground rapper Freddie Gibbs recently spoke on his own allegations of sexual abuse. Falsely accused, he was acquitted of charges in a sexual abuse case in Vienna, Austria in 2016. It kept him detained in the country for four months. He spoke on how the allegations negatively impacted his career and to this day have continued to follow him.
"When somebody accuses somebody of that, it's just like 'whoa, sh*t, well did he do it?' So even though I was acquitted of all charges, I found myself having to explain myself since I got out. I have to tell people, I have to explain the story. I wish I could just give it to you on DVD. But I gotta tell everybody look, this shit did not happen this way, I didn't buy my way out of this, I didn't pay to get acquitted. Man, I got acquitted because I actually did not do this," said Gibbs.
Gibbs continued: "I just gotta get my name back. I feel like a lot of people backed off of me because of this sh*t and that was kind of f**ked up. Luckily, by the grace of God and my fans they still support me and they still love me because they know my character"
Freddie Gibbs has also gone on to become an example of a Black man who supports women in spite of his situation. Just this week after the airing of the R. Kelly documentary, he went on record to say that false allegations should not lead to silencing women. He says that he understands that the majority of accusations of abuse against men are valid and that his own situation is rare.
On Van Lathan's podcast "The Red Pill" Gibbs gave an interview and highlighted his personal feelings on the matter.
“We a minority,” he says, referring to men who find themselves falsely accused of abuse. “That’s why I don’t downplay victims. I didn’t come out when that shit happened to me like, ‘oh, these b*tches lying.’ No n—-, that’s not the case. This is an individual situation. I can’t relate my situation to everybody else’s… Because some people would be like, ‘Look at him. He was freed.’ Like, nah, my n—-. Y’all n—-s really be doing some inappropriate shit.”
He also points out that inappropriate or abusive behavior doesn’t necessarily have to lead up to “rape or any intercourse,” explaining that there are other forms of abuse.
“Just the way you handle a woman, you doing it in the wrong fashion. If you stalkin’ her, beatin’ on the door, harassing her, all of that sh*t. No means no, just let it go,” he said.
I believe Gibbs is an excellent example of how when we have dialogue that seeks to understand one another as men and women, we leave more room for change. As women rather than attacking or morally convicting all Black men, perhaps we should practice a little more caution.
We don’t want the #MeToo movement or R. Kelly situation to become distorted. It's a slippery slope, I just happen to be a sister who sees both sides. I have remained consistent in calling out all instances of sexual abuse whether it is from whites or blacks, and I do not wish to see this R. Kelly situation become a lynch mob toward Black men. As Black women, we have witnessed how the white liberal agenda has impacted women of color and forgotten us. So in turn, I don't want to see us do that to our men. Because when causes are distorted or agendas are misused it counteracts what we are fighting for.