Open Thread: The R. Kelly Verdict

by Latoya Peterson

Looks like the Pied Piper of R & B will continue to walk the streets.

Gina from What About Our Daughters notes some of the comments on predominantly black websites, like Essence:

I think justice was served. We have several of our black men in jail for these crimes, that they actually do commit, but without knowledge. The teenagers today look and dress like grown ups, and there parents see this and don’t care. I don’t think people should do time, when they do not know the person is a minor. Another thing the girl denied that it was her, even if it was her you can only go by what she says. The problem is R Kelly is making to much money doing him and people are jealous. Kelly keep doing you. I’m

-Mona Harris

I know R.Kelly did it but so what! He likes young love oh well!!! She allowed herself to be done like that. Why was she at a grown ass man house anyway.EXACTLY!! She wanted it…they wanted it and it doesnt really matter because he was found not guilty so get over it.Im sure he will do it again i just hope next time he leaves the camera at home…Go R. Kelly!!!yeaaaa

-Queenipoo

JUSTICE WAS SERVED !!!! IT’S PROVEN THE MAN IS INNOCENT…I BELIEVED ALL ALONG THAT TAPE WAS CORRUPT.AND SO WAS THE TESTIMONY OF SPARKLE AND THE LIL MONEY HUNGRY TRAMP WHO JUST WANTED MONEY FROM ANY AND EVERY SOURCE SHE COULD GET IT FROM. THE MOLE ON R.KELLY BACK COULDN’T BE EXPLAINED, WHY IT WAS NOT IN THE TAPE.

-REAL JUSTICE

I think that only God knows what happen.And what does it matter what happened anyway.Its not like R.Kelly forced the girl to have sex and I am so sick of people giving young woman the freedom to do what they want and blame the man for their inpurities. That girl knew exactly what she was doing!Furthermore, not only Kelly should’ve been on trial, but her aunt and mother should be too. Why is a girl that young at R. Kellys home in the first place???It’s neglegence on the parents part as well.So don’t blame Kelly for taking a

-Crystal J.

Gina calls this ignorance personified, I am inclined to agree.

In discussing the case with some of my friends, a few pointed out that it may not have been R. Kelly on the tape. (This was also the main strategy of the defense.) When I asked who they thought it was, they mentioned R.Kelly’s brother, who looks a lot like him. However, Carey Kelly denies being involved. A 2006 report from MTV news states:

A few years back a rumor circulated that R. Kelly planned to claim that it was actually his brother featured on the sex tape that prompted child-pornography charges against the singer. But R. Kelly’s younger brother has a tape — and a few claims — of his own.

Carey Kelly has resurfaced in a new low-budget DVD in which he puts forth a number of allegations against his more famous brother. Chief among them, Carey says R. offered him $50,000, a record deal and a house if he would perjure himself on the witness stand. Previously Carey had expressed concern when he heard that his resemblance to his brother might be used as a defense strategy to cast doubt that it was really the singer on the tape (see “R. Kelly’s Brother: I Support Him But Won’t Take The Fall”).

“I got a call about a year and a half ago,” Carey says on the Drahma Magazine-produced DVD, which was first available on MediaTakeOut.com and was released Tuesday. “My brother wanted me to do some sh– pertaining to this case that would leave me behind bars with a record deal. It doesn’t make sense, so I turned it down. … Since I couldn’t lie for him in a court of law, we’re back to beefing again, and we ain’t brothers no more.”

Carey Kelly also accuses R. Kelly of a litany of other crimes:

Carey also claims that R. abuses his wife (see “R. Kelly, Wife Separate — Petition For Restraining Order Tells Of Alleged Abuse”), tried to molest their other brother’s daughter and molested their 12-year-old second cousin. And if those claims weren’t enough, Carey also says R. is bisexual (“He in the closet for real,” Carey said on Hot 97).

Sista Toldja wrote a long post titled Nobody Loves a Black Girl, which just about sums up my sentiments on the case:

If insanity is, as people like to say, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results…then call me crazy. Cause for all the times the justice system, the media, the Black community and America as a whole have reminded us that they don’t truly care about little Black girls, I actually thought that R. Kelly was gonna be convicted. I feel so stupid right now. Like, smacking myself in the forehead stupid. WHY AM I SURPRISED? It took six years to get the trial to even start, the victim has refused to cooperate, there has never been any real outcry from Black “leaders”, nor victims rights advocacy groups. The man has only recently fallen out of favor with listeners because his music has gotten SO shitty, that even the purveyors of Soulja Boy and Rihanna are like “Hmm, this kinda sucks.” But there are still plenty of people, an embarrassing lot of them in my hometown, who see the Kelly trial verdict as a victory: one less Black male in prison.

WAKE UP PEOPLE! SOME BLACK MEN NEED TO BE IN PRISON. [...]

First of all, the defense presented a piss poor case in Kelly’s favor; in perhaps the most pathetic argument ever heard in the history of law, defense lawyers held the movie “Little Man” up as evidence that CGI technology can be used to digitize someone’s head on to someone else’s body. If I were the judge, I would have ordered that lawyer out of my courtroom immediately.

Secondly, everyone in the world knew it was R. Kelly on the tape and half-the victim’s family came forward like “Yeah, that was our girl and yeah, she was about 14 then.” The girl’s best friend told stories of Kelly giving the girl one to five hundred dollars at a time for shopping trips. I guess the money he ponied up to keep her butt lying to the police was enough to buy a few more pairs of Jordan’s than that.

Dammit. I’ve said all this before, haven’t I? It seems like a waste of my breath now. In the past two years, I’ve written about the R. Kelly fiasco no less than five times. I guess I will let this be the end of it. There is one more element of the case I feel I failed to address. You see, in the SIX FUCKING YEARS it took to get this case botched, I have heard one really disturbing thing from brothers and sisters alike: “She was fast”. Because the girl was a willing participant in the sexual activities on the tape and because “she looked like she knew what she was doing”, a lot of folks have chosen to ignore the girl’s age and the responsibility of the adult in question.

There is a term for sex between willing youths under the age of consent and adults: statutory rape. And it is illegal. This isn’t some obscure law, so why do people (ahem, Black people) want to act like it’s not relevant here? In fact, every time I’ve heard anything about an underage Black girl messing with a grown man, there has been somebody there to say “She was fast”. Yet, I’ve never heard anyone of any race refer White victims of pedophiles that way. Why is that?

I saw the tape when I was a freshman in college. From what I can remember, while it wasn’t a “Superhead vs. Mr. Marcus”-level performance, yes, the girl did look comfortable. It didn’t seem to be her first time doing this sort of thing. But I wouldn’t care if she was putting it down like a porn star, it was illegal and wrong because she was a CHILD and not of the age of consent! It wouldn’t matter if she came to R.Kelly’s house buck naked with a notarized letter from her parents stating that they approved of her actions, it is the legal and moral responsibility of adults to protect and prevent children from having sex with adults. But she didn’t have to chase Kelly, he had a years-long reputation of preying on little girls and she was one of many girls.

We can’t do this to our little girls, y’all. We can’t write them off as “fast”, when they are being taken advantage of.

I hate when women say “I would have known better than that at her age.” Would you really? Yeah, you might not have messed with R. Kelly, but imagine it was one of YOUR teenage crushes or idols. I can only imagine what would have happened in 1998, had Maxwell or Lenny Kravitz or LL or someone else I thought was the bomb came to me (in my most insecure years) and told me I was pretty. What would I do if he wanted to spend time with me, buy me things, ride me around in cars I had only seen on TV and touch me like I was a woman? There is no way I can say honestly that I wouldn’t have at least tried to go with their program. Perhaps fear or intelligence would have set in and stopped me from going too far….or would it? Maybe I would’ve turned on some BET videos and learned how to pop my thang like a pro. Maybe I would have loved every minute of it. Without the guidance of an adult, there are a lot of things 14-year-olds will indulge in that they have no business dealing with.

Edited to Add:

Brownfemipower’s two sentence summary of the whole situation:

R. Kelly was just cleared on all charges.

So I guess that makes the young woman in the video tape a vixen rather than a survivor of rape.

Pretty much.

Your thoughts?