I probably should have published this piece before “Separation Anxiety” just to keep you all on your toes but here we go! If you have avoided the series I understand but most of us have seen the Lifetime docu-series, Surviving R. Kelly. We’ve all seen the memes and the gifs, we’ve even unearthed some disturbing video of R. Kelly in Ethiopia allegedly soliciting for young girls during a 2010 performance. People have done what they believed was their due diligence and brought to the light other predators that have lurked in the industry for years. The problem with all of these “shocking revelations” is that we can only go on what we see online and no one has decided to go to any clerk’s office in Any Town, USA to pull records for any type of proof. There were rumors swirling around P. Diddy about the mother of his eldest son, Justin Combs, being sixteen when she gave birth to Diddy’s, then twenty-five, child in 1993.
I’m all for justice for victims of any crime but when the only “proof” you have is a meme and Wikipedia I need to see some concrete evidence. We know that anyone can update, change, or remove information from a Wikipedia page so why would it be farfetched to believe that someone changed the information related to Justin Combs or Ms. Brim, respectively? When did we become law enforcement? We have video proof of R. Kelly committing a crime but rumors about Diddy committing a crime but R. Kelly was allowed to rock for another twenty-five years. Where were we when the allegations against Afrika Bambaataa made public? In 2016 Ronald Savage accused Afrika Bambaataa of molesting him at the age of 15! There was little to no media coverage and these individuals suffered for thirty years. A beloved Hip Hop Culture forefather…how could anyone go up against a legacy like that?!
R. Kelly’s legacy was already tarnished because we’ve heard these stories before people and we failed to protect our daughters, our sisters, our cousins, and our nieces. Who else is a survivor? Not of R. Kelly, not of Diddy, and not of Bambaataa but of Hip Hop! How many people have survived Hip Hop? Stop fishing for Jay Z or whoever else until the alleged victim(s) decides to come forward. Chris Stokes worked with B2K who had songs written by R. Kelly and those alleged victims have made themselves known and I hope they continue to seek justice and therapy. As Black and Brown people we have endured so much as original people, we don’t need to make our own lives worse by tormenting each other. We’ve survived the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, Jim Crow, Holocaust, Trail of Tears, and so much more. I know we can Hip Hop survive!
“Another victim, don’t know what’s hit them.” – Joey Bada$$ (Survival Tactics)