Why Black Women Don’t Trust You

Media: PEXEL

It wasn’t uncommon to hear R. Kelly labeled as a “freak” or “pedophile” as a youngster. Even for those who knew of his rumored predatory nature and jammed along to his 90s classics. And that was the thing; we never stopped listening to him. 

I’ll admit, as a 90s R&B fan, R. Kelly songs were frequently played in rotation in my household. I remember my local radio station at the time 103.9 WDKX would have his songs playing in the Quiet Storm segment. At college parties, we jammed the night away to some of Kelly’s biggest hits. 

It was the typical relationship, most of us had regarding his artistry. Amongst the legacy that Kelly has had as a musician, conversations in my community would often highlight his talent first, over his predatory behavior.

We knew some shit wasn't right but we didn’t realize how DEEP that shit was or maybe it’s because, for some, we strategically chose to ignore it.

It was like many things we pick and choose to ignore. 

Perhaps it's the father or mother who is manipulative and abusive. 

The creepy brother, uncle or cousin who molested a family member or makes an individual feel uncomfortable — the aunt who doesn’t know the meaning of boundaries.

Although many are cognizant of their behavior, we still invite them to the cookout, force their victims to show their family some love and give hugs.  

This is precisely what watching Surviving R. Kelly reminded me of.

Surviving R. Kelly was an in-depth reminder of the sick twisted fantasy, of a man who continues to prey on and abuss Black women. He has never faced the demons of his past. No justice (not “settlements”) has been served for his victims. The abuse of R. Kelly and his victims is encompassed with money, power, and manipulation. With Black women the primary targets of Kelly’s behavior, no one cares to reprimand him. I guess that's a preference *insert eye roll here.

Media: GIPHY

After watching the series, I had many emotions, as a sexual assault survivor and Black woman examining the commentary many viewers had to offer. I realized that because of the conversations held, and the perception surrounding Black women, and their plights, this is why Black Women lack so much trust in our community. This Is Why Black Women Don’t Trust You. 

If the shoe fits YOU, wear it accordingly. 

You believe Black women can only be sexually assaulted unless we are aesthetically attractive. Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement, was speaking in the docu-series, from her experience as a Sexual Assault Survivor. She provided commentary about how manipulative abusers operate and what R. Kelly as an artist represents in Black Culture. A Black man screenshotted footage of Burke speaking with the caption alluding to that Burke was too ugly to be touch by R.Kelly, unfortunately it went viral. It was one of the most dehumanizing to witness. Burke was speaking on behalf of her experience as a survivor, and it was torn to shreds because she was labeled as too ugly to be touched by Kelly. We don’t trust you because our pain and struggle are only valid if we look appealing to you. #DISPICABLEYOU

You think it’s the survivor's fault. You blame the women for the experience instead of the predator. “Well, they should have known.” “Their young ass had no business being around him.” “You know young girls, like old men.” This is precisely why we can’t come to you and be open about our experiences; you blame us.

You think Surviving R.Kelly merely is about people trying to Bring the Black man down. Yes. Black people and their narratives are treated differently in the lens of the media in comparison to Whites. In this case, the truth is bitter. Have you not assessed the validity of the stories shared in the docu-series? Or is that you can’t separate the artistry from the Monster? I mean, if it was your family would you still be stepping in the name of the predator. If you want to say bring him down we bring them all down, hell, Robert Kelly, every other predator like him can all burn. 

Black women are devalued, and you’re a part of the problem. Black women go to the bat for Black Lives periodt. The moment a Black woman says “this experienced happened to me, there is EVIDENCE and you don’t care about it, stop claiming you give a fuck about Black people until you have more remorse for the women who bring life into your community. Black boy dies, and Black girls scream HELP. US. Black girls dies, and Black boys and some “sistas” say WHAT. DID. YOU. DO? I’m honestly scared for your family.

This conversation has left a big ass spotlight on the work we need to do within to strengthen our community, love and support our Black women survivors and most importantly listen to them. Our liberation depends on it.