Why I’m Not Entirely On Board With The Keyon Dooling ‘Red Table Talk’ Episode
"It’s as if Keyon linked the reason he cheated on his wife to the trauma from his childhood.”
On her Facebook Watch show, Red Table Talk, I love the conversations Jada Pinkett-Smith is opening up in the Black community surrounding all things we don’t talk about around the dinner table or in “mixed company.” She’s taking the veil off of “we don’t talk about that in this house” and really creating a space for healing and growth by touching on our most pressing issues. With that being said, I have to say I was deeply disappointed by her most recent show.
Yes, I was up refreshing my Facebook page like everybody else around 9:00 a.m. when the episode first aired but was immediately taken down. The episode was later posted around 5:00 p.m. after everybody got off work, which felt a little shady to me. If you weren’t on Facebook and somehow missed it, let’s do a quick recap.
The Red Table Talk episode titled, "Molested As a Young Boy: An NBA Star Breaks His Silence" opens with Jada narrating headlines pointing out Common’s disclosure, the Pope and, dare I write, Michael Jackson. (And with the last one, I’m already rolling my eyes. Let that man rest in peace.) She features clips of former NBA player Keyon Dooling’s former teammates and coach detailing Keyon’s behavior before and after the incident. The incident I’m referring to is a man groping him in the bathroom, which triggered him. It’s later explained that he became angry, withdrawn and “not like himself.” His wife had him committed to a hospital to seek treatment because he was experiencing auditory and visual hallucinations. The show goes back and forth between clips from people who love him the most and everyone at the table. They cry at the table, they laugh at the table and the show pretty much ended in smiles.
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While watching this I felt like I was being set upper a major surprise. The level of suspense was higher than your favorite horror film. Somewhere in the middle of the episode, Natasha Dooling, Keyon’s wife, shared her experience of how she supported him through his difficult time. She then disclosed that he cheated on her during their marriage. Why was this her responsibility to talk about his poor choices? That part was when I wanted to jump through my laptop and join the red table. Come on sis, throw the whole table away.
Here’s my issue: It’s as if Keyon linked the reason he cheated on his wife to the trauma from his childhood. Now, Natasha, four kids or 400 kids, I would’ve left him. Ladies, we don’t have to stay with men that cheat on us. People everywhere, we don’t have to stay with anyone who cheats on us or makes us feel less than or unworthy. To me, cheating is equivalent to premeditated murder because it’s many steps before you step out. It’s an act that much thought has to go into. Planning, sneaking, lying and being disrespectful are all prerequisites before you graduate to the actual act. I don’t care if that man took the love language quiz and re-evaluated his life, I’m not able to move pass the cheating. Like Jada, I also know many Black men that have been sexually abused as a child, but I don’t see them causing harm to anyone.
When people are survivors of any type of violence, it’s for sure a reality that they may perpetuate that harm to another. This is different, cheating is a choice. When we lack power and control over our own lives, we seek to govern others. I’m not here for the, "I cheated, it’s unconscious behavior" cop out. Nah bruh, do better. Where’s the accountability for cheating?
What do y’all think? Let me know in the comments.