A Chicagoan, I knew R. Kelly had a reputation for sleeping with teenagers, and I listened to his music for years.
Although I never went to any of his concerts or bought his music, it certainly wasn’t because I was taking a moral stand.
He just didn’t speak to me enough, and neither did his unique culpability.
In my mind, R. Kelly was the same as every other male musician who objectified women and preferred them young.
I wasn’t going to buy their music, but I wasn’t going to leave the club for playing it either.
I straddled the fence because to stand on either side felt like too big of a responsibility.
I didn’t want to have to research every artist that came on in the club and determine if their sins were the kind I could live with. I also didn’t want to directly support people I knew were immoral.
I stood somewhere in the middle of right and wrong. I was conflicted.
I will say that I knew better than to speak publicly about things I’m straddling the fence on, so I was never the person on Facebook defending my position on R. Kelly.
I chose instead not to have one because that meant I didn’t have to do anything.
My theories only made for interesting conversations with friends.
I wasn’t shaping minds, but that’s exactly what I’m expected to do as a mom.
I can’t straddle the fence anymore.
I have a responsibility to my son to be the kind of person I want him to be, and that is not someone who turns a blind eye when women and children are abused.
I want my son to stand for something, and I want to stand for more.
I choose to stand for victims of domestic violence. I choose to stand for the innocence of children, and I choose to stand for black women.
I can not support R. Kelly, not directly and not indirectly, but I also can’t pretend that such a declaration moves the needle any.
In the six-part docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly,” which ended Saturday, the pop star is accused of abusing women and controlling their minds, bodies and actions. He allegedly forced them to call him daddy, to ask his permission to go to the bathroom and to get consent before getting something to eat. Sometimes he wouldn’t let his victims do either, his accusers said.
They painted a picture of a person who is morally reprehensible. I see that picture. I believe it, and I condemn it. His alleged actions are so uniquely monstrous that I don’t see how anyone could now turn a blind eye.
But I also see a more widely embraced theme at the root of almost every accusation about R. Kelly, and that is a choice to satisfy every sexual urge and desire with no regard for how his actions affect others.
Pleasure without consequences seems to be part of the American moral code. So as quick as I am to condemn R. Kelly, I have to be just as quick to condemn the concept of immediate gratification.
Condemning it is not as easy a commitment as condemning pedophilia. It is however, necessary to protect morality.
My mom has always assured me, actions have consequences. They may not be immediate, and they may not be obvious. But in this world, nothing in life is free. Nothing is without penalty.
Being an adult is about determining what you’re willing to give up to get what you want.
I’m not willing to sacrifice morality for immediate pleasure and certainly not for convenience.
Saying no more R. Kelly and no complacent parenting | Honeycomb Moms | Before my son was born, I straddled the fence a lot regarding which artists I would support and which I wouldn’t. But there is no place for indecisiveness in parenting, not on issues as important as domestic violence and sexual abuse. I’ve learned how important it is to teach my son to stand for something by staying true to my own beliefs. I’ve learned to protect morality.