By Sean Yoes, AFRO Baltimore Editor, [email protected]
Black people who call themselves fans of R. Kelly have been engaged in a sordid, slimy tango with the alleged pedophile for about 20 years now.
In the wake of new video evidence against the Chicago native that has been unearthed recently, ya’ll still cool with Kelly?
The latest allegations against the Grammy nominated singer and accused child molester sound very similar to the allegations against him in the 1990’s and early 2000’s and mid-2000’s.
According to various reports, a grand jury was convened this week in Cook County, Ill., regarding the latest charges of Kelly having sex with underage girls. Last week, flamboyant attorney Michael Avenatti announced he gave the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office a VHS tape allegedly depicting Kelly having sex with a 14-year old girl.
The Cook County State’s Attorney has not officially confirmed the existence of a grand jury looking into the allegations against him. However, the office had previously encouraged any of Kelly’s alleged victims to come forward.
“My client knows the identity of the girl and R. Kelly. He identified the two of them on the videotape. He worked for and has known R. Kelly for decades and he met the girl on a number of occasions,” said Avenatti to CNN.
CNN reporter Sarah Sidner, who saw the tape said the 14-year old refers to her genitalia using a vulgar term, repeatedly saying it is a “14-year old —-y” and she also refers to Kelly as “daddy.” The two allegedly engage in various forms of sex in two separate rooms of his house on two separate days.
To be clear, this videotape provided by Avenatti, who rose to fame as the lawyer for Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels, the pornographic actress who allegedly had an affair with Donald Trump, is not the video evidence from Kelly’s 2008 child pornography case.
That 2008 case was at the center of Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly,” a documentary produced by veteran entertainment reporter Dream Hampton, which depicts the singer’s abuse of another 14-year-old, the niece of an R&B singer known as Sparkle.
But, of course these are just the latest allegations against Kelly, who married the late singer Aaliyah in 1994, when she was 15-years old, and Kelly was 27. The marriage was annulled in 1995.
In June 2002, Kelly was charged with 21 counts of making child pornography. The Chicago Police Department accused Kelly of videotaping all of the sex acts and luring a minor to participate. The video was sent anonymously to the Chicago Sun Times, who passed it on to the police. Ultimately, after six years a jury concluded they could not prove the girl in the tape was a minor and Kelly was found not guilty on all counts.
I remember in 2002 when those allegations came out against Kelly. That same year the NAACP nominated him for an Image Award (anybody remember that?). The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People knew all about the raunchy allegations against Kelly; I believe the girl in the video that emerged in 2002 was allegedly 15. Back then I was part of a significant wave of criticism against the organization for nominating an alleged pedophile for the prestigious Image Award (I’m not going to repeat what I claimed NAACP actually stood for when they were entertaining the thought of handing Kelly the honor). Thankfully, the organization thought better of their inexplicable lack of judgment and pulled his nomination.
My thoughts about Kelly now are the same as they were then; he’s persona non grata, I don’t care how hard his music bumps. But, unfortunately for millions of his fans (the vast majority of them Black women I suspect) the opposite is true; they don’t seem to care about how many 14-year-old little Black girls he has raunchy sex with, all that matters is that his music bumps.
Why is it okay for R. Kelly, or any man for that matter to literally urinate on little Black girls with impunity?
Why are so many of ya’ll still cool with R. Kelly?
Sean Yoes is the AFRO’s Baltimore editor and author of Baltimore After Freddie Gray: Real Stories From One of America’s Great Imperiled Cities.